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Irritated over teacher support...
Old 11-25-2014, 05:34 AM
 
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First of all, I am a teacher too. So, I understand HOW busy other teachers are. I get it. My daughter attends a different school than I do. So, I try to be involved as much as possible. I joined her schools PTO because I wanted to help give back to the teachers and faculty who would give her so much. However, I am over it.

In all my years of teaching, I have never seen a staff that did not support its PTO, at all. All year we have had ONE teacher attend a general meeting. When we done an October fundraiser selling a candy gram that parents pre-ordered and were delivered to the teachers after school that would not disrupt their classes so they could pass them out whenever they wanted to the next day we had trouble getting the information sent home to parents because teachers did not pass any of the information out ( a flyer). We held a big event after school hours on a Friday and we didn't have ONE single teacher bring their family or anything. When we do box top sorting nights where all teachers have to do is drop their box off in the lounge, half of them never do. This is a school that has over 40 classroom teachers not accounting specials or sped.

The straw that really broke the camels back was last night. The principals secretary decided that PTO should help decorate for their family feast. We were told last minute, on Friday that we needed to provide décor. Okay, that's fine I drove to four different stores to find what the secretary wanted to have this past weekend, with family in town. We were told it would take 10 minutes and we were just their to help. Well, on my husband's birthday I spent nearly 3 hours after school with ONE other lady (who was PTO) to help decorate. Not one single teacher showed to help, even though this is their event and the first year PTO has ever helped with this. They didn't even make center pieces for the tables as we were told would happen. Again, I understand HOW busy teachers are. I teach too. I am also a graduate student in the midst of my final action research project. ALL of our proceeds we make, goes right back in the school for these teachers. I am tired of getting off at my school and running to this school to make things happen. They don't send out newsletters, event information or anything the PTO ask to send home. Its not one or two teachers out of them all, its probably 10 plus.

Okay, rant over. Oh! Did I mention I took a personal day at my school. so I could eat at this feast with my child and now I will be working a full day at their school and only taking a break to have lunch with my kid. I love to help, I love to do for others and make things fun. But I could do other things to help and feel appreciated and supported. rant over.


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That makes me sad. When my kids
Old 11-25-2014, 09:20 AM
 
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were small, I stayed home with them. I was very involved with the PTO. The teachers in our school were amazing and showed up for everything and gave 100% support. The scenario you describe is unbelievable. I think the Thanksgiving feast is unnecessary, and and one of those foldout turkeys is probably enough decorating per table. Just sayin.
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Old 11-25-2014, 11:59 AM
 
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That is incredibly sad. We are grateful for EVERYTHING our PTO does for us! Your P should be making sure the staff takes these things seriously. I wouldn't have let the secretary dictate anything, especially when everyone wasn't pulling their weight. :/
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Too Much
Old 11-25-2014, 12:48 PM
 
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Maybe your PTO is doing too much. It seems like every aspect of school has been wrenched up. (if that's a word). My PTO should do a fraction of what they do. A lot of it doesn't make much money and is way more work than what it produces. AND it costs the parents to support it. It would be so much easier to just ask the parents for donations for specific projects. When some big ordeal makes 400 bucks and you have 400 kids, wouldn't it be easier to ask the parents to each donate a buck and then give a sticker to each child that brought a buck in or some little reward that took no time and cost almost nothing. Bottom line for me: I have no extra time/energy to give at work. If they ask me, I'll give them 50 bucks to keep them off my back.
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expectation for the teachers
Old 11-25-2014, 01:15 PM
 
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As a teacher who is a parent, it is very difficult for me to attend after school or evening activities. I would have been one of those who couldn't attend on a Friday night. Are they young teachers with families? Sometimes on a Friday night I'm so spent that I can't even think about going to an evening event with parents and students.

The Thanksgiving thing is a bit ridiculous. Not one teacher helped out? Was this communicated to them?

I hope you feel better venting. I'm sorry that you feel no support.


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Old 11-25-2014, 02:30 PM
 
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"ALL of our proceeds we make, goes right back in the school for these teachers." That's where you lost me. The proceeds are to fund better education/experiences for the KIDS. The proceeds are NOT 'for the teachers,' nor should they be.

This is the way I'm *guessing* this sounds to the staff. I'm not there, no context for my theory except how it would go with our staff. I have *never* seen any kind of benefit to my classroom from a PTO...Once they bought us a die cut machine but no shapes to go with the roller. Not a single teacher had asked for or wanted to use it, even if we could have.

Teachers not sending a flyer? Sometimes they email it to me and ask me to print/copy (no time or copy allowance). Sometimes they drop it in my mailbox the day-of and expect me to pick it up and distribute it - Not happening unless I walk my whole class to the mailbox every afternoon to check it because I'm with kids for the final 3 hrs of the day and have no aide. Sometimes they bring it to me but I forget to send it that day because I'm worried about the other 100 things that are happening at that moment in an elementary classroom.

I would not bring my family to an after school event. They are not interested in hanging around with people they don't know, and frankly, I need the break from my coworkers/students by Friday afternoon. I like them, but they are my job, not my 'fun.'

Box top sorting? Again, I'm worried about many, many other things and this would be last on my list. Simplify. Put a big box outside the main office so kids can drop them in on the way to class or lunch. No teacher action needed.

Spend 3 hours after school putting up decorations? NO WAY. That is NOT in my job description. I did that for 2 years and then stopped because it became an *expectation* and I am NOT a volunteer. I'm either with family or doing 3 hours of work that directly impact my students' learning.

Making centerpieces and feasting at my school would take instructional hours away. When we're doing crafts, they're not 'just for fun,' they're fun with learning tied in. Not to mention this would probably be one of those last minute dropped-in-my-lap projects that the principal/secretary forgot to mention and that I don't have supplies or a plan for.

You are busy. You have a husband, a child, a job, and a masters program to worry about. You are too busy to say yes to the principal's secretary's last minute directions. You are frustrated because you are taking on jobs that others have said no to. You CAN politely say no. You need to decide if you want to do this to support your child and the other kids in her school, or you are too busy and the stress isn't productive enough.
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:43 PM
 
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Could they be burnt out? We have so much piled up on us at our school that I would not go if it wasn't required. (I've been working in room until 5,6or 7 and do work on nights and weekends)

Just a thought...

Glad you got it off your chest
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Pto
Old 11-25-2014, 03:21 PM
 
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What a shame. I'm sure your daughter feels good knowing you go out of your way to support her school and attend functions.

Do you know what the history is like with the PTO at your child's school? Maybe there is some bad blood or negativity that is lingering and hurting the process.

Who is the PTO president? What does he/she have to say about all this?

At the school where I work, every teacher must sign up for an adjunct duty. Supporting the PTO is one of the choices. I have elected not to join for the past two years because I noticed right away we had zero parent support other than the two parents (in a school with over 800 children) who ran it. Parents certainly showed up in droves to attend all of the functions they expected us to have, but literally, only two parent PTO members were part of the team.

I learned how to say no, and I suggest you do the same. You can be a part of the PTO and help out when you can. The PTO should function as a team and make decisions together. The secretary should not be deciding unilaterally that PTO is suddenly responsible for party decorations. That is absurd.
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Old 11-25-2014, 03:57 PM
 
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I understand your frustration but as you noted, we are all busy. As someone else noted, this is a job.

Many years ago, I used to go to PTO meetings until the night I was the ONLY school person there. I felt attacked by the parents over an issue I couldn't solve as I'm not administration. After I was verbally attacked, I was told that every teacher should be required to attend these meetings and report what's going on in their classroom at least once a year. Um, no thank you. You attack me and then expect me to come back for more? I have never been back.

I attend selected events, of my choosing, and those ALWAYS involve my STUDENTS, not their parents. This is my job, not my life. I will admit, it's most of my life it seems, but it is my job. I am single, so parents often assume I have nothing else to do with my life. I am the only person helping my 89 year old aunt and uncle (he has Parkinson's) and they live thirty miles north of me. Because the thirty miles includes going directly through my state's capital, it is 75 minutes, one way, on a good day. That means just to pick up their prescriptions, it's a three hour ride. I don't have time to go to PTO. Outside of my time on the job at school, I need to plan lessons, correct work, create tests and projects, meet with parents, attend staff meetings, compute grades, keep current with new ideas, and so on - that's my job, not PTO events. I would hope that the parents would rather have me yelling for their child at basketball games. It's not my job but it's for the kids, so I do it.

Our PTO provides one luncheon for teachers during the school year. I always write a thank you note and send it to the PTO secretary.

I'm sorry you aren't feeling the support that you would like. It's not personal, I'm sure. It's a job. Speaking for myself, I give many more hours to my job than if I worked 9-5 at Sears. Most weeks I do as much work out of school as I do in school. On my off time, I deserve to pick and choose what I am doing just as if I worked at Sears.
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Old 11-25-2014, 04:26 PM
 
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Quote:
I love to help, I love to do for others and make things fun. But I could do other things to help and feel appreciated and supported.
You are right, and I'd suggest that you do these other things. If you don't have time or desire to volunteer in this PTO, then stop doing so.


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I'm sure your child appreciates it.
Old 11-25-2014, 08:34 PM
 
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I'm sorry the staff is MIA but maybe they're told that these things are optional. I don't really attend optional events at my school. It's just not my thing. I work very hard and then go home. That's really all were required to do. Some people like the OP like to help and put themselves out there. That's wonderful but not everyone feels that way.

I personally send home anything that's in my mailbox. If I had to run the copies myself, I'd be annoyed.

I hope more teachers step up but I wouldn't expect it. Feel good that you are helping and making a difference.
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:57 AM
 
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I don't understand why the secretary has the authority to decide that the PTO should decorate for a family feast. Doesn't seem like she should be deciding this. I think you should help in any way that you feel comfortable with and let that be enough. It is hard when you do not see others helping out but there may be circumstances within the school that the parents may not know about. It also sounds like the PTO may need to pick the most effective fundraisers or events and just focus on those without overloading those that are able to help.
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Old 11-26-2014, 03:47 AM
 
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As a teacher, I try to support our students and PTO; however, I probably would not have done ANY of the items on your list that required me to spend any more time at school. I would have dropped off the boxtops and distributed the flyers. There is no way I would have spent Friday after hours at school or three hours after school decorating for a feast. One thing I would do though is spend money on fundraisers. I have spent around four hundred dollars on various fundraisers this year.
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Pto
Old 11-26-2014, 04:55 AM
 
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Our PTO is wonderful. They do so much for our school and the teachers. They fund field trips, projects, and pay for the things we need for our classrooms. As far as attending meetings, we have one teacher that volunteers to go to every meeting and report back to the teachers.

However, we are not required to do anything except teach. While I attend some events, I have a family, meetings and other job expectations. I'm not a volunteer. I'm sorry that you're frustrated but we are not the PTO volunteers, parents are.
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PTO Problem
Old 11-26-2014, 06:07 AM
 
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Your description makes me wonder if the source of the problem is poor communication on the part of the school office. If the secretary asked the PTO to decorate at the last minute, perhaps that's how many things are handled. It could be that the teachers are not being told about things like flyers and box top sorting nights until the last minute. It could also be that the office has told teachers that they do not need to participate in PTO meetings and events, even though the PTO is hoping that they will.

At my school, we have a Parents Association, rather than a PTO. The name difference is intentional - teachers are not expected to play any significant role in their work. We are encouraged to attend certain events, but not all of them.

Quote:
"ALL of our proceeds we make, goes right back in the school for these teachers." That's where you lost me. The proceeds are to fund better education/experiences for the KIDS. The proceeds are NOT 'for the teachers,' nor should they be.
I think this is largely a difference of semantics. If the PTO pays for my class field trip or a magazine subscription or an author visit, I view it as helping me. Of course, it is for the benefit of my students, but they are making it easier for me to do good things for the kids. Also, our Parents Association provides teacher appreciation lunches for us - no direct impact on the students, but it seems appropriate to me.
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Old 11-26-2014, 01:09 PM
 
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I respectfully disagree on the semantics issue. It sounds to me that the OP is irritated with the teachers because they aren't helping with things that would benefit them. Kind of a 'why would I help you if you won't help yourself.' On the contrary, if she wants to help with the PTO, she should do it because it helps her daughter and daughter's classmates, not the teachers. Hopefully that would remove some of her resentment of helping someone who won't volunteer to 'help themself,' and shift it to a feeling of fulfillment from helping kids. Of course, if the fulfillment isn't there from PTO work, she could definitely find a different way to support her daughter's education, class, and/or school.

Just please don't blame the lack of fulfillment on the teachers' lack of participation if they don't see it the same way you do. I'm sure some PTOs have great relationships with schools and teachers, but it sounds like there are very different expectations from each side here. Different expectations cause stress. Discussing expectations or shifting yours can alleviate that stress.
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Lady Teacher has it right!
Old 11-29-2014, 08:36 AM
 
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She said:
"However, we are not required to do anything except teach. While I attend some events, I have a family, meetings and other job expectations. I'm not a volunteer. I'm sorry that you're frustrated but we are not the PTO volunteers, parents are."

You never know what someone is dealing with. Right now my 90-year-old father in law is living with us so we can care for him. He needs 24 hour care. Most of the care falls on my husband, who is retired. I race home from school every day so I can relieve my husband. I am stressed enough as it is without a PTA member assuming I don't want to help!
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