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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Parent Volunteers…

I’m still recovering from the “five week coughing crud” that’s been making the rounds. This is week #4 for me so I’m pretty much over it except for the remnant “froggy voice”.

I felt able enough to take last Friday’s 3rd grade assignment at one of the country club schools for a teacher I’ve worked for before but who’s rarely sick.

Twenty great 3rd graders AND a class aide!

Now I’ve had a class aides on other rare occasions but they were usually assigned to handle one of the “special” kids to see that they didn’t set the classroom on fire or spike a ballpoint through the ear of the kid next to them. Except for this school, I’ve never had an aide whose job was to help the teacher.

She collected, collated and corrected the daily output of quizzes, spelling tests and worksheets the teacher assigned for the day. If I had any questions as where I might find books or materials on the lesson plan, she usually had the answers. It was great!

At the break, I remarked how unusual it was to find that I had someone like her to assist in class. I discovered that she started out as a parent volunteer at the school when her kids were attending. Her kids are now in college and H.S. but she still wanted to be involved with the school.

She said that at one time the school had 700 kids and a list of over 1000 parent volunteers.

The school eventually had so many parents that wanted to volunteer time that it was becoming a distraction during the school day. The school started limiting parent participation on campus but encouraged some of the more “responsible” parents to get certified and stay on as paid teacher aides.

Compare this school to the one I was at yesterday for 5th grade.

One of the teachers in the teachers lounge was worried about getting six parent volunteer chaperones for a field trip to a museum downtown.

The schools are within five miles of each other.


Sladed said...

Wow, what a luxury to have an aide in the classroom. Although the schools are 5 miles apart, is there a socioeconomic difference that makes it less likely that there are stay-at-home parents? Sometimes it has to do with the "culture" of the school. Sometimes it's parental attitude.

KauaiMark said...

" there a socioeconomic difference"

Most definitely. I would venture to guess that the average income in the privileged school is probably over a quarter mil per year.