Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My PTA Participation

PTA.  If you're the mom of a school-age child who attends public school, you know about PTA (or PTO).  Because I used to be a teacher, I always felt that I needed to contribute to the school.  I should volunteer.  I should join PTA.  I should be at the school helping out as much as possible.

The reality is for me that I don't really like to do it.  When the teachers find out I used to teach school, they always want to put me with a small group of struggling readers and have me do a reading group.  Or help a student who needs help with math one-on-one.  But it's very uncomfortable for me.  Often they do it with no guidance, so I'm not sure what it is they really want me to do.  It's one thing to be in charge of your own class, have a curriculum that you use and are familiar with and do what you want with it.  But when you are helping out a teacher, you aren't the one in charge.  They are.  I once had a kindergarten teacher hand me a packet of letter activities and a list of students' names and thanked me for helping.  I had no idea what I was supposed to do.  Therefore, I have sort of avoided helping out in the schools.  I sign up for the teachers to send work home for me to do, like cutting things out or sorting through papers, even grading.  But I try to stay away from being in the actual classroom.

At the end of last year when PTA papers went out, I decided that it was time I did my fair share.  After all, I will have three kids at the school and I have experience teaching school.  So I decided instead of just paying PTA dues and doing work for the teachers at home, I would try to do something more.  I looked at the choices of what committees to sign up for and picked a few that seemed interesting to me, thinking I could help on at least one committee.  The things was, there was just a list of committees, no explanations attached as to what you actually did on that committee.

About a week later, I got an email from the PTA president asking me if I would be the Art Commissioner.  No explanation as to what it was, no information about the art program.  I was promised I would get more information in a couple of weeks and told that I would be helping with the school's art program.  I thought I have experience with art and know a little about it, this could be interesting, so I accepted.

I finally found out a few weeks ago what would be expected of me.

I get to teach art to the school.  Once a month, the second Friday of the month, I get to go to the school and teach an art lesson on a famous artist to each grade level.  It will be all day, from 8:30 am to 1:20 pm (Fridays are short days here) and I will see each grade level come through.  I'll give them a fifteen minute lesson as a grade and then they'll separate back into their classrooms to do the artwork and I'll walk around checking to see what help is needed.

I am very excited about this.  I do have a little bit of an art background--I studied art in high school and took some art classes in college.  Art was a favorite subject of mine to teach too, when I got the chance, which was rare, based on the 100% focus on reading and math these days.  I have been pondering the idea of teaching again when my kids are all in school, missing teaching.  But I don't miss dealing with the district and the parents and the contract, etc.  This will fill  my desire to be teaching again without all the hang-ups.  Plus, the curriculum is all made, all I have to do is follow the lesson outline and teach it.  Once a month.  It's just the perfect thing.

The best part is, they had no idea I had teaching experience and was knowledgeable about art when they handed me this assignment.  I'm so excited about this!


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