When my oldest started kindergarten I was so excited and jumped head first into volunteering. So what if I worked full time? I was not going to let that stop me from getting involved. At open house I signed up for a top position – co-room parent.
Looking back I am extremely grateful that Ms. L had the foresight to make this a position for two parents, because I had NO IDEA what I was signing up to do. And I’m sure I would have failed miserably if it weren’t for the other co-parent.
It’s now eight years later and I no longer sign up for room parent, but there are other ways I make volunteering work. Here are some of my favorites over the years.
Co-room parent. I did this two years and it worked well because the other room parent had more time to volunteer in class. I managed online sign-up requests, helped plan class events, and helped organize teacher appreciation gifts. By taking on a lot of the administrative tasks the other room parent could focus on filling classroom needs during the school day.
Copy maker. I was surprised at how much time teachers spend making copies, especially since the hours they get with a teacher’s assistant have been cut. Choosing one evening out of the month to make copies after school can be a HUGE help. Plus, it gives face time at school with teachers and administrators.
Assemble activity kits/classroom packets at home. In elementary school there are lots of projects that require assembly. Have the teacher send the pieces home with your child and you can assemble while you relax at night. You can also cut shapes, etc. if necessary, and send the completed packs back.
“One-off” assignments. Some school years I have not been able to have as much face time as I would like, so I opt for big impact, one time, events. Think volunteering for a few hours at the book fair or signing up for career day. Oftentimes these things are broken up into one or two hour increments, so they don’t require a full day out of the office.
I also love sending in wish list supplies and requests like food, project needs, etc.
p.s. These ideas can also work for parents with small kids at home, :-).
Good luck with volunteering!