Calling all teachers!
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive April 2006:
Calling all teachers!
I have been asked, and am considering running for president of our "PTO", it's not a traditional PTO and things need to change. I have some pretty strong opinions on what I would like the "club" to be. My question for you teachers is, are you involved in your schools PTO, do you want to be?, Do you have to be?, What duties do you have? Because you want them, or did someone (the principal) demand it?
any info would be greatlty appreciated, I'm torn over even putting together a "Plan of Action" for what I would like to do with it, let alone running for the position.
I taught Kindergarten for 7 years in a low-income, low-involvement school of about 550 students.
Our PTO consisted of 2 women who did EVERYTHING, so often the teachers would help out for things like the carnival. My last couple of years our PTO really got some good parents involved and was growing and growing when I left.
As a teacher, I didn't want to feel obligated to do PTO stuff. I was already there from 7-5 everyday and most weekends, too, not to mention all the summer work and conferences. I just always felt like that was what the PTO was for...for the parents to take a leadership position that would benefit the students, the school, and the faculty and staff as well. I always helped with the school carnival though, and most of our teachers did; BUT, if we hadn't, there would not have been a school carnival in my building.
We did not "have" to participate, but it was encouraged, especially when our PTO was so small. Never pressured though. No one would demand that you participate and if there's a union, they probably can't. (We have a union and that would never work.)
I'm sure you'll be a great addition to your PTO. Our (even though tiny) PTO raised thousands of dollars for new playground equipment, books for students and teachers, and really fun events. Our small PTO still managed to do lots of neat things and to this day I still can't believe the dedication of those 2 ladies!!
Our PTA was very active. They really were the support system for all the "wants" the school could not afford to give us teachers. They had holiday shows and ice cream parties for the kids and a wonderful teacher appreciation luncheon which was usually catered by one of the better places in the neighborhood.
I never attended a PTA meeting, except when they were recognizing one of my students for something. I paid my dues to be a member, but that was all.
Oh, I do remember helping out with a candy sale ...
I'm running for our School Board. It should be fun.
I work at my dks school and the principal has a sign up sheet posted in the office for 2 teachers per month to attend the monthly meetings. It's not required per say, but it's noticed if you don't go.
I attended ONE PTO meeting the first year I taught. We had a new (and wonderful) principal and she was trying to boost the empty PTO. We had a meeting where 22 teachers showed up and ZERO parents. It was disheartening to say the least. I'm so glad things have changed there.
Gives you an idea of what we were dealing with in my school!
I am involved in my son's school's PTO, and I am in the same position you are in. This is the last year for our president and secretary, who happen to be husband and wife. They have made an AWESOME team, and their shoes will be impossible to fill. Many in our PTO have looked to me to take over the reins next year.
Our PTO meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month during the school year. Teachers are involved in our PTO, but on a limited basis. A few do participate in the carnival, if only to set up tables and games, and some to actually run games or sell tickets. I have been the volunteer coordinator for the past 3 years for the carnival, and I always have at least 5 or 6 teachers volunteer.
We have one teacher show up to each monthly meeting. This teacher is selected amongst the other teachers to act as a liason between the teachers and the PTO. It is a different teacher each month, and they have a list of requests or updates, anything that the other teachers would like to have brought up at the meeting. For instance, the 4th grade teacher, who is also the school's unofficial communications and IT director, needs a new router for the building's TV network. The cost is $1500. Can the PTO contribute a few dollars? Or the first grade teacher and the media specialist (librarian) have collaborated to find a selection of books from Scholastic and are intersted in purchasing them for the library, which is short on books at the first grade reading level, and they would like to know if the PTO can run a fundraiser for it.
The teachers also keep us up to date on who's retiring, who's having a baby, etc., so that we can put together gift baskets. And during conferences we put together a potluck dinner for the teachers, as well as a teacher appreciation lunch at the end of the year.
The principal always shows up for our meetings as well.
Our president and his wife have found the websites for both the PTO and PTA a great resource for ideas and materials.
I think that the most important thing that should be emphasized, and is at our school, is parental participation. Don't make it into an exclusive "club" type atmosphere, but be sure that you are open to and welcome everyone and anyone who is interested in becoming involved with their children's education in any way. Teachers have told me on many occasions that their NUMBER ONE frustration is lack of parental participation, whether it comes in the form of support from home or volunteering in the classroom. The PTO should encourage involvment and make it FUN. In my humble opinion
We also have a "Family Fun Night" where we get a DVD player and projector, select a movie to play, and have popcorn and candy and pop for sale. Kids bring their pillows and sleeping bags and blankets and we set up in the gym. At our last Family Fun Night, the cost of admission was something to send to troops in Iraq.
We have "Hat Day" where every student can wear a hat to school if they pay $1, and the money is donated to a local charity.
We pay for school bus transportation for field trips, and we fund educational activities such as a Nature Garden on the back lot and Brainstormers, a local theatre group that re-enacts stories that are written by students.
I would be interested to learn what kinds of experiences that others have had.
When I was teaching I helped during all the PTO functions but rarely went to meetings. I commuted 45 miles and their meetings were usually at 7 pm. There was no way I was going to drive home and then drive back later. LOL! A few times I stayed late to attend important meetings, but I can't imagine doing that with a family at home. (We didn't have kids at the time.) Teachers were encouraged to take part, but it wasn't a requirement.
A new PTO president started during my last two years of teaching. I suspected there would be problems because this particular parent was a gossiping, busy body. She came into office strongly and wanted to "change things for the better". She actually started going into teacher's classrooms after school and telling them how to run their classrooms! Would you believe she even had the nerve to tell the principal certain school policies needed to be changed?! SHE was the PTO president, yet totally misunderstood the position. LOL! Ultimately the principal and the school board had to put her in her place by making it very clear what authority she did and did not have. No surprise she resigned all in a tizzy. I left that year so I don't know what happened after that.
Currently - My kids go to two different schools. I'm a PTO member at both schools, take part in all the fund raisers and activities, but rarely attend the meetings. I've gone to a few, but frankly they're not worth getting a baby-sitter or making DH come home early from work. Occasionally they schedule meetings during school hours. I attend those when I'm able, but they're usually scheduled on days that I help out in my DK's classrooms or in the Library.