Why You Should Volunteer At Your Child's School

The principal at my children's school asked me to help out with their Spanish program. They have a wonderful volunteer parent who comes in once a week to work with each grade and I was asked to assist her since I am a native speaker and could help students develop proper pronunciation. Initially, I said yes, but when I found out several weeks later that I was pregnant with my fifth, I tried to back out because I was afraid of the commitment. Our principal, however, persisted and I'm thankful she did. Quite honestly, having to prepare a lesson each week often feels like one more chore on an already endless to-do list. And as a stay-at-home mom who practically lives in her PJs and slipper socks, I truly dread having to be presentable in the morning. But after I actually go to the school and work with the students, I'm always so glad I went. For one, I really do think I am making a positive contribution to the school Spanish program and the students. As a grad student, I taught Spanish conversation at UC San Diego and I feel good about bringing that experience to the students at our small Catholic school. I also like working with the kids. It's fun. My daughter is in 2nd grade and my son is in kindergarten and both have expressed to me how much they like it when I come to their class to teach. I can tell they're proud and I like that they get to see another side of mom. The final and best reason for volunteering at my kids' school is being able to put a name and face to all the stories and people they come home and talk about. As a mom, I really did have a sense of loss when they started going to school. Eight hours is a long time and it's sometimes hard knowing they belonged to a whole other world that I'm not a part of. I've sat through many parent-teacher conferences where teachers tell me about their reading and math skills when all I really want to know is "What is my child REALLY like?". How many times have I wished to be a fly on the wall at school so I could watch them learning, playing, and interacting with others? True, I get a glimpse from their stories and their teachers, but it's just not the same. I want to know everything, but have to settle for the little snippets of information I gleam from our ride home or from overhearing their conversations at home. Volunteering at their school, however, has changed that a bit for me. Their school life is not quite the mystery it once was. Suddenly, I really know the people they are talking about and the conversations are richer and deeper because of that. Just as important, the kids at school know who I am: Senora Duffy! Even though it is just a few hours a week, volunteering at their school has given me a little window into their world. Yes, it's small, but it's more than I had before, and that's big enough for me.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.