You signed up for room parent at your child’s school. It’s an awesome job with many exciting opportunities and some not so glamorous tasks. Room Parents are an invaluable resource for the teachers.
For 4 years now I’ve had the honor of being a room parent for either my elementary age daughter’s teacher or my pre-k son’s teacher. Each grade is different with different needs.
Elementary school and younger do tons of crafts, especially in Kindergarten and 1st grade. So those grades need more craft supplies like paper, glue, glitter, stickers, glue sticks, construction paper, washi tape, and toilet paper rolls. I start collecting those early in the summer, especially for my son’s class.
Older grades have different needs that are more teacher-specific and subject-specific. For example, this year’s my daughter’s science teacher is asking for seeds and planting soil. Check with your teachers for wish list items.
Here are some do’s
1. Get with the teacher and iron out any details and needs they have.
2. Each school my kids have attended has a room parent meeting. Make sure to attend those because they have tons of information to help make your job easier. If you personally can’t make it get a fellow room parent to take notes for you. My son’s school passes out a parent handbook which is awesome.
3. Create a folder with all pertinent information. It’s a great way to have all the information you need in one place. My folder has the class directory, teacher wishlist, room parent handbook, and school calendar.
4. Set reminders in your phone or calendar when to send out emails for school events for the year.
5. Set up a Facebook group if your parents find that easier than emails.
6. Use apps like Sign Up Genius to organize volunteer and supply needs. I love this app because you can see if a position/need has been taken care of. The app will send out reminders too. I love collecting any money through PayPal. Lots of times I don’t have cash. It’s easy to have parents send money for things this way.
7. Say hello and introduce yourself to your parents through email. I usually attach a picture of myself and my child so parents can know who I am and so they can come to me with any questions. Involve your parents especially those who say they want to help. I loved not being the only room parent so if I couldn’t do a particular task I could get my fellow room parent to step in and do it.
8. Reach out to your teacher weekly to check-in. I always ask if they need supplies or maybe want a treat that week like a coffee or lunch. Treating your teachers isn’t necessary but I like to show them appreciation year-round.
9. You will organize class parties along with the teacher. Usually, there are at least 2-4 parties a year. It really depends on the grade. Check with the teacher about special events they may need certain tasks done. Last year, I decorated my son’s class door for drug awareness week. I’ve also cut out, set up projects, and centers for the teacher during lunch.
10. Get to know the kids. I loved getting to know the kids my daughter and son are in class with. Even when I see them at the school the kids remember me and say hi to me. They love it when I remember their names.
1. Don’t be a martyr. Ask for help. Sometimes you will have to do the job alone. I always reach out to my other parents because you never know if someone can help out.
2. Don’t alienate or be snobby towards other parents. When I first became a room parent; a parent was shocked I said hello to her. She said usually room parents only communicate through emails with her and never said hi to her when they saw her volunteer with them in class. I make it a point to say hi to every parent. A simple hi is friendly and warm. That parent became important to me in helping me communicate with my only Spanish speaking parents. Her help was invaluable and we’ve become good friends since.
3. Don’t be resentful if you do most of the work. Some parents sign up for room parent just to look good. Don’t worry about it unless there is a major issue then involve the teacher only if you can’t resolve the issue yourself.
4. Don’t be a tattletale. The school and the teachers have enough to deal with other than stupid parent drama. I try to intercept all drama. My teachers should never deal with that. A major job of a room parent is to take things off of their plates so they are not burdened with mundane tasks.
5. Don’t stress out. First-time room parents do this. Perfection is not the goal. A kind and generous heart towards making the teacher’s job/life easier is the main goal. The teachers love the help and so appreciate a parents heart to serve them and their students.
It’s a major task to take on especially when you are doing more than one class. I find being organized and communicating with your teacher and parents makes the job easier. Please share tips below you have found helpful as a room parent. Or, if it’s your first year, let us know what questions you have.