I am a teacher and have held the position of room parent volunteer (aka The RoomMom). After many years of working with parents in my classroom and volunteering to help other teachers, here is the boiler plate of what has worked for me.
- Do not abuse the class e-mail list. I think e-mails to the families should be limited to holiday parties and class gifts unless the teacher has asked you to contact families. An example of an “extra” e-mail might be help with drivers for a field trip.
- Aside from teacher gift and party e-mails to parent volunteers, only send e-mails when requested by the classroom teacher.
- Offer to collect for a group gift at holidays/end of the year, but do not make the contribution mandatory. Suggest an amount for the donation to the gift fund but make it clear that the amount is a guideline. Parents should not feel obligated to contribute. And, if you know you have a community where contributing would be difficult, don’t even ask.
- This is an addendum to #3. If you are purchasing a group gift, use a generic but personal policy. In most cases, you probably do not have a personal relationship with the teacher. Generic gift cards are best (Visa, AmEx, etc.). Teachers love when the generic gift card is accompanied by a little something that shows you are aware the teacher works hard with your child every day. For the past several years, I created a Favorite Books Bookmark to go with the gift card at the end of the year, so the teacher has something with which to remember the class.
- If you are not the official room mom but want to help, sign up on the class volunteer sheets and wait to be contacted. Too many cooks in the kitchen creates confusion. Teachers can only handle so many parent volunteers.
If you have school aged children, what reminders and information would you like to receive from the room parent, and what information should be the classroom teacher’s domain?