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How parents can get involved

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/2/2006 | Education

The feeling that their ward should pass with flying colors
is universal. Often the child has to satisfy his teachers and parents without little support from them. It would be easier for a child to achieve the targets if the parents also chipped in. Research has shown that children whose parents provide classroom support do better than other children.

You can volunteer for help by either writing to the school authorities or making a visit for a discussion. Today most schools appreciate the support extended by parents. You can act as the point-of-contact for families of other students.

You can even read stories to the class or help organize projects, exhibitions, book fairs etc. If you volunteer for high school work then you can consider organizing career talks.

A discussion with your child's class teacher, counselor or principal can help you to  identify areas where your skills and knowledge can come in useful. While talking to the school authorities you must specify your interests as well as limitations.

This will prevent complications in the future.  You should be willing to take on the job offered and should perform it whole heartedly. There are chances that you may not do well. But you should take it in your stride and try to improve.

Before contacting the school, you must examine your schedule carefully. Offer to volunteer only if you can spare the time. There is nothing worse than offering to help and then backing out at the last minute. It can even affect your child.

Working with the school is not an easy proposition. Schools have their rules and before you register as a volunteer you must go through these rules. Some schools require medical documents, criminal records and fingerprints before they accept a volunteer. 

Some schools do not allow parents to volunteer in their own child's classroom. You should obtain full information before offering your services. You can even go through the district administration policy for greater clarity.

You should let the teacher take up the task of introducing you and setting up the tone. The classroom is a teacher's domain and you should respect it.

Do not be caught on the wrong foot if you are selected. Be prepared. Talk about your career and bring supportive material. Share your culture and ethnic background like food  habits, festivals etc with the kids. Spend time to help the weak students.

You could also supervise the students during their game hour or take them out for an outing. If you have a special skill, share it with them.

If you want to work from home then you can make copies of the classroom material, get coupons for classroom supplies, create or update the school website.

If you are not interested in working in a school then you can help by organizing educational and career fairs. You can also recruit few school students for on the spot training. In all cases your help will be appreciated. Schools need parents to bring in their special skills to add variety to the curriculum.