Last year, two sometimes even three days a week my two-year-old daughter and I would go to my elementary-aged son’s school to volunteer. Some days we would cut stuff out for all of the teachers, other days we would spend the day volunteering in the classroom. No matter what the job entailed we both thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s interesting the connection and structure volunteering brought my daughter. She always enjoyed walking the hallways like one of the big kids, waving to the teachers and staff like she ran the school. She has missed every part of volunteering just as much as I have.
While many of us are unsure of what this next year is going to hold for our children, one thing that has also been on my heart and mind is that volunteering just isn’t going to be the same. We are not anticipating any big events, at least at the start of the school year, and we are not anticipating classroom volunteering. Obviously this is for everyone’s safety and I appreciate and accept that. Some of us are choosing not to send our children to school and do distance learning, while others are choosing a virtual school or homeschooling. All of these decisions are perfectly okay. If you are choosing distance learning or brick and mortar you will have more opportunities to support your child’s teacher and school and volunteer in a different way.
Support your Child’s Teacher
Your child’s teacher is full of just as much anxiety as you are about the upcoming school year. They want it to be a successful year and they don’t want to disappoint you or your child – even with things that may be out of their control. Support them. Ask them what you can do to help alleviate stress. Maybe that involves cutting something out at home and sending it in with your child. Maybe that means you’ll step up as room mom or dad and provide communication as needed to the other parents of the room. Find out if your child’s teacher has an Amazon wishlist. If they do, share it with your family members to see if they would be willing to purchase something off of it. Lastly, offer them grace. You may disagree with a protocol set in place but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have a choice in it. Talk to your child’s teacher about it. Communication will be key this year.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
Speak to the principal of your school to see if they are allowing any type of volunteer opportunities. If not in school, I’m certain they would be appreciative of you offering help with things that are not done in school. Fundraising for your child’s school might also look a little different. While many people have been financially affected these last few months, support and sharing school fundraisers is a way to support your child’s school. Join your child’s PTA, PTO, or PTSO for their school. If you have children who attend multiple schools, try and join each school’s PTO/PTO/PTSO. The dues for joining go back to the school and most schools have perks for joining. You are really helping out the school when you choose to join and this can be done if you choose distance learning or brick and mortar.
School is most certainly going to be different. We are all on a little bit of edge, but my goal this year is to support our school, volunteer in ways that may be different this year, and be thankful for the teachers. I’m going to miss volunteering in my child’s classroom, but I’m willing to get creative this year with volunteer opportunities and reach out to my child’s teacher to see what will be helpful for her. You don’t have to stop volunteering just because it’s going to be different this year. Support your child, school, and child’s teacher by being flexible and trying new ways to volunteer!
It’s still going to be a great year!