Working as a room parent for your child's classroom can be an emotionally rewarding and fulfilling experience. It will act as a window to your child's daily journey to school, and at the same time, you will be able to contribute to it. Hence, you must be fully aware of your duties in order to do justice to the position.
Earlier, a 'room parent' was known as 'room mother'. However, after men also started participating, the term got a broader meaning and was changed to room parent.
Volunteering to become the room parent for your child's classroom? Sounds great! By becoming one, you will act as an important interlink between teachers and parents. Moreover, you may also enjoy contributing to the learning sessions of your child as well as the entire class.
In most schools, the job description of a room parent will be ready and written. However, the teacher may essentially decide what kind of help she requires from you.
Hence, one of the very first things you should do, before you start working as a full-fledged room parent, is meet the teacher and know the expectations she has from you. This will help you deliver in an organized and efficient way.
Some schools have two room parents. One handles the social aspect of the class--known as a social room parent, while the other handles everything related to studies--known as an academic room parent. Though the set of duties vary with every school and teacher, some responsibilities are common. The following sections will give you a glimpse of their duties.
Field trips are an important part and parcel of every school and act as a good learning platform for students. A room parent helps organize and manage the field trip.
Handling so many children together can be a difficult task for the teacher. Hence, you will have to call up other parents to arrange for chaperones at the field trip. You will also have to help out to ensure that the students put up their best behavior and stay together wherever they go.
You will have to assist in planning events, like carnival booths, school auction baskets, teacher appreciation day, etc.
You will also have to plan out these occasions with the teacher, shop for necessary things, and even host the event if required. Sometimes, you might have to undertake small tasks, like filling goody bags with stationery, toys, etc.
Classroom Parties and Celebrations
A room parent will assist the teacher and be responsible for arranging classroom parties. This may include planning, buying, or sourcing snacks, drinks, and decoration items.
It may also include organizing fun activities, like drawing, craft, games, etc., for students. You may even ask the parents through emails, calls, or notes to provide supplies for small classroom parties, like tissues, cup cakes, sandwiches, etc.
Communication for Key Events
You will have to communicate with parents from time to time. You may do so via emails, phone calls, or notes. Whether it's a Halloween celebration or book fair, you will have to keep the parents informed.
It's your responsibility to keep the parents posted about forthcoming school events, parties, meetings, donation drives, etc. Apart from this, it will be your duty to update the classroom blog, email group, or website with a schedule of events along with highlights and photos after they end. At times, you may have to send reminders as well.
You will have to solicit volunteers for various events in the classroom. As a room parent, you will have to coordinate the schedule of volunteers and classroom readers.
For a back-to-school night, you will have to provide volunteer sign-up sheets to children to seek their parents' availability and interest for the same. You will then have to compile this information into the class volunteer schedule.
Also, there will be times when you have to follow up with the volunteers and arrange a meeting between them and the teacher before an event.
Compiling and Publishing Class Rosters
You will have to coordinate with the teacher and draft a letter to send to the parents in order to get their personal information, like name, email address, phone number, etc., for sharing it with the class.
You will then have to compile the roster and publish it. It should have the name of every child in the class. There may be parents who do not want their personal information to be published.
In such a case, you can only print the name of the child. If you want to add photos of children, you will have to take permission from their parents. Many schools provide easy templates for this, so do not forget to ask for them.
Gifts for Teachers
You will have to collect a contribution, or ask for a donation to arrange for gifts needed for various occasions throughout the year. This will include occasions, like Christmas, Teacher's Day, end of school year, teacher's birthday, etc.
As you act as a connection between the teacher and parents, you will have to attend almost all meetings, like the school's Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meetings, etc.
Schools that have parent-teacher organizations may require that you attend these meetings. This will help other parents get to know you as well as help you understand what they expect of their child's classroom environment. You may be required to attend training sessions. You will also have to meet other room parents and share your ideas.
A meeting with the room parent organizer of the school should also be undertaken regularly. There may be special meetings arranged for the room parent and other parents as well.
In the meetings arranged for the room parent and others, you will have to answer their queries. If they have any doubts about their children's social calendar or field trips, you will have to answer them.
Apart from this, you can induct parents of children who are new to school in the meeting and solve their queries as well.
Calling for Fundraising
You will have to communicate all the requests for fundraising events, meetings, and donations on time.
You will have to either call or email the parents to send the donations for various supplies of the classroom. Not only this, there will be times when you will have to ask for financial support from local businessmen, etc., apart from parents of the children.
You will be expected to undertake various duties in the classroom, like office work, helping the teacher out with her tasks, etc.
You may also help her arrange the setup for arts, craft, activity classes, etc. Your assistance may also be helpful for the teacher during science experiments, competitions, and other projects, which require specific space arrangement.
✔ It is advisable that you check your voice mail and email regularly.
✔ Try to make phone trees and email chains to spread the word faster.
✔ Communicate with the teacher about all activities regularly.
✔ Seek the teacher's advice and guidance when needed.
✔ Take keen interest in your role as a room parent.
✔ Maintain a positive disposition.
✔ Be available and approachable.
✔ If you cannot answer a query, you can request the teacher to do so.
✔ Be organized and delegate work for timely completion.
✔ Solicit help from volunteers wherever necessary.
You may also use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with parents. Speak to other veteran room parents, exchange ideas, and take their suggestions. Getting people to donate can be a bit difficult; nevertheless, give it a shot.
Due to rising child obesity concerns, many schools restrict the use of sugary or fatty foods, so plan the menu for a party accordingly. Acting as a room parent lends you an opportunity to act as a liaison between the school and parents, so make the most of it. Finally, don't forget to enjoy every moment while you are at it!