Volunteering

Volunteering in your child’s classroom
Parental involvement in your child’s education can improve your child’s overall learning experience; volunteering may be an essential part of your involvement. Volunteering in your child’s classroom is also an excellent way to support the dual immersion program at your school. Dual immersion teachers have large workloads and parental support is often the key to accomplishing all that they need to do. It is important to support both of the DI teachers, as both of them are integral in creating a successful immersion program. Parental involvement is a great asset to any classroom and parents can quickly become essential advocates for teachers and students.

Tried and true tips:

  • Express your desire to help. Teachers will ask those who have spoken up to help first. Take a proactive and kind approach and teachers will respond.
  • Be specific about when you can help. For example: “I’d like to come in weekly and help in the classroom, would that work for you?” Or “I would love to come help in the classroom once a month, can I set aside every 1st Monday?”
  • Be clear about what you are comfortable helping with. Would you rather be interacting with the children directly or would you like to do some work on the periphery like grading papers, organizing take home readers, etc?
  • Do not take younger siblings into the classroom. Be realistic about balancing your school children with those at home. Smaller children in the classroom can be a huge distraction. Many mothers of young children have been successful at trading babysitting with other mothers so that both may have a chance to volunteer in their schools.
  • Involve local universities or college students, families or friends who are fluent in Mandarin to help in the Chinese classroom. Remember, the Chinese classroom is full immersion. No English allowed!
  • Provide teachers with a volunteer coordinator. Many times the volunteer effort may be slow in starting. Ask your teacher if they would appreciate help coordinating that effort and you may see some good happen earlier in the school year. A good way to coordinate volunteer efforts is found at www.volunteerspot.com.
  • Look for the positive. Express appreciation to your teachers and admiration to the students. Don’t be a parent who looks for ways to criticize. If you come across a situation you think needs to be addressed seek positive communication with your teachers and administrators.

Helpful links:
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/Final_Parent_Involvement_Fact_Sheet_14732_7.pdf
http://www.greatschools.org/improvement/volunteering/365-10-tips-for-classroom-volunteers.gs

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