Oops, I did it again!
Last week, I was reading an article in Today’s Parent by Nadine Silverthorne on “The Perks of being a PTA mom”. She got roped in by a friend of hers to go to PTA (Parent-Teacher Association/Parent Council/etc.), and it was love at first sight. She loved being involved and in-the-know of all activities at school.
As she attended for her second year, she writes, “I felt a hand go up very close to my head. It took a second to realize that it was attached to my own arm – I had enlisted to be secretary.”
This is how my story goes.
My mom was always active in PTA. She was a leader, having a hand in shaping my school experience, from elementary through to high school. When we were younger, my brother almost got hit by a car as we crossed a busy street to catch the school bus.
Result: My mother got the bus route changed to avoid having kids walk through parking lots and to cross that busy street and the bus started picking us up right in front of our condo!
I went to a new high school, which meant we were the first graduating class. The up-side: we grew with the school. In grade 9, there were no other students there but us, it was awesome! We went to grade 10 and then new niners came in, and so on. The down-side: the strict rules of the school and uniform dress code gave little room to wiggle. Because there were so few students, they kept a pretty close eye on the length of our kilts, the patches on our blazers, and so on. By the time I reached grade 12, I was tired of the fact that we were the only high school in the vicinity where girls didn’t get the choice to wear pants.
Seriously, I spent four winters wearing that kilt. And I don’t know about you, but I prefer to wear pants when it’s cold! So what did I do? I asked my mom to join the PTA and make some waves.
And she did. Not only did she change the school uniform, she got rid of our dreaded blazer, added some shorts, polo shirts and cardigan sweaters! She was my hero!
That’s the long way to say that she was my inspiration and the driving force behind my desire to join Parent Council.
What I didn’t expect was, like Silverthorne, I raised my arm to enlist to be secretary in my first year on Council. I didn’t know anyone; not the teachers, the other parents, or the community. It was a challenge, but I am confident in my note taking. And I learned a lot. Let’s just be clear, however, the position of secretary on Executive Council is a lot of work. A lot.
So this year, when the option came up, I didn’t think that I would run again. I just started a new job, I’m trying to write more, I’ve signed up for some continuing education courses and well, it’s busy enough being a mom and wife and balancing my life, that I just wasn’t’ sure if I could get the notes out in the timing expected.
Apparently I was wrong.
Or nobody else wanted to do it.
If I had to wager, I would say it’s the latter. This isn’t the most glamorous position; it is the one who has prep before, work during and after the meetings.
Long story short, I received four nominations, and under the negotiation that I would have more time to send the minutes out, I accepted.
Work aside; I do believe that it is important to be involved within the school community. It is not only a way to be a voice for my child, but it’s a way to be a voice period. If you don’t get involved, how do you expect to change anything? And for the record, I’m not looking to move bus stops or change dress codes, but if those items come up, I’d like to know that I had a voice in the cause, regardless of the end result.
I don’t want to be a parent that wonders why things happen in the school, but won’t get involved enough to make my voice heard. Anyone who knows me can attest that there really isn’t ever a problem with my ability to express myself. I hope my kids will come to appreciate my involvement, the way I did with my mom.
More importantly, I’ve made some friends through this process. It’s a community and all those sitting around the table in the school library every month have the same interests. I’m grateful for that and while I was hesitant, I am looking forward to being involved again in a successful year ahead.
Are you involved with your kids’ school and/or on Parent Council? What do you enjoy most?