I have been a faithful classroom volunteer since my son was in preschool. I’ve always loved volunteering in the class. Whether it was cutting out shapes for a preschool art project or running the Kindergarten class store, I’ve always made sure to clear my work calendar to allow for an hour or two of weekly volunteering.
This year, my son’s school has moved away from the paper handouts begging for volunteers to using iVolunteer – an online app that enables quick and easy sign-ups. I remember the days in which volunteer requests when unanswered. Apparently with smart phones and email, those days are gone.
I was just snuffed from volunteering in my son’s third grade class. It wasn’t that I wasn’t allowed to volunteer. It certainly isn’t that the teacher doesn’t like me. But when our teacher sent out a class email that the in-class volunteer requests were now posted on iVolunteer, I didn’t know that meant I had to take immediate action. 20 minutes later, I logged in only to find that every position was filled. Mothers (and a couple of dads) had beat me to the punch.
It didn’t help that my son has reached the age where teachers ask less and less of parents. I remember getting the notice before Kindergarten that our neighborhood public school was requesting a weekly 4-hour shift from every family. Kindergarten was only four hours. That mean that the teacher would have 6 parent volunteers a day. It was so overwhelming that we switched schools with a much less rigorous volunteering requirement.
Now, I find myself wishing that there were more volunteer spots. I know my son doesn’t need me to be at school. He’s thriving and blossoming all on his own. But I like being there. I think it’s important for my son to see that we all have a vested interest in his education. Still, when I complained to my husband that I wouldn’t be volunteering in the classroom this year, I was shocked to see him so happy for me.
“You’re always complaining about having too much on your plate,” he said. “This is one thing less. That’s an hour a week you get back. Let someone else step up for a change.”
He’s right. Sort of. All I know for sure is that next year, I’ll be ready and waiting for the online sign-ups. Who knew classroom volunteering was like scoring tickets to a Justin Beiber concert? I won’t be left out next year!