Utilizing your Volunteers

Follow my blog with Bloglovin In a recent chat in Facebook, there were some questions asked about parents visiting or volunteering in the classroom. I think I had a pretty decent system in place, so I thought I'd share!

The thought of a parent in the classroom can be quite intimidating. My first year teaching I put off having any parents come into the room until a parent just showed up one day. So I thought, it's better to have the parents under my control, then have them showing up at any given time and just creating an out of control environment.

Like anything else, parent volunteers and their presence within your classroom is much better when it is planned out in advance. You may work at a school with huge parent involvement, or one with super low parent involvement. Either way, it's fantastic to create an environment in which the parents/family members feel welcome and encouraged to volunteer if they have the time available.

Within the first week of school, or even at back to school night (if your school has one before the 1st day of school) I send home a volunteer interest form. It is a form that indicates how often the adults are available and what area they are most comfortable in helping with.

Once I receive back the volunteer interest form, I will send out monthly calendars for the parents/guardians to 'pencil' themselves in. I think it's important that the parents/guardians know upfront what you expect, and that their volunteer time is going to be spent working. I think some parents come in with the pre-conceived notion that volunteer time is a time to hang out with their kid. I also send home a 1/2 sheet of paper to schedule themselves in 1 hour time blocks, and I also note that even though they pencil themselves in, our schedule may not be conducive for them to come in that day at that time, and ultimately I have the final call for the volunteer schedule.

After I get their monthly 'penciled' calendars in, I will make a master calendar with their name and time on each day. I will make however copies for the number of volunteers, then for each volunteer, I will highlight their volunteer time on their copy.

When a parent comes in to volunteer, and they are not following what was asked of them (to go copy something, or to work with a child), I will kindly ask/remind them to finish their volunteer obligations. If they are more interested in hanging out with their child, I will tell them that they are more than welcome to come in and have lunch with their child during our scheduled lunch time, but it is imperative that while volunteering, they can not disrupt our instruction.

Please comment with any tips or ideas you have for your volunteers in your classroom!!

You can also find the papers shown above with the calendar from September 2015 through June 2016 here: Utilizing your Volunteers

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