Should teachers go to PTA meetings?
If you are asking this question, you probably have a hunch that going to a PTA meeting is a good idea. Hey, ANY increase in parent-to-teacher face time is good.
But the answer to this question is more complicated than it appears and like all complex questions it boils down to it kinda depends. It depends on your school community, it depends on your PTA, it depends on your after-school time.
Reasons why you should:
- Meeting parents where they are sends a clear message that you are interested in forming a partnership with them. Hooray for partnerships!
- You are also going to a meeting as a participant and not as the leader. This shows that you value parent leadership and expertise.
- You can hear what parents are concerned about, firsthand, and help address those concerns.
- You can help the PTA focus on the learning in the classroom. This is something that in the middle of candle sales and Santa’s Workshop they can easily lose sight of.
Reasons why you should not:
- Your time is precious and you have a family of your own at home. This cannot be overemphasized. Gotta put some fuel back in that tank!
- If teachers aren’t at a meeting, some parents may speak more freely about issues they are having without fearing that someone might take it out on their kids in the classroom.
- If the PTA is really just talking about candle sales and Santa’s Workshop, you may be a waste of your time.
So how might you use PTA meetings to your advantage?
- Work with your colleagues and take turns going to a meeting. That way throughout the year parents can interact with a variety of teachers.
- Offer to give a “classroom minute” to the PTA. This way you can share some specific good news, some exemplary student work (YES! I LOVE SHARING STUDENT WORK), or teach a mini-lesson on something the kids may need help with at home.
- Suggest that the PTA host an “Ask A Teacher Night” in lieu of a normal meeting. That way parents can come with questions or concerns and ask them (even anonymously) in a low-risk environment.
- Invite the PTA to a Game Night or an Intercambio or some other meeting where the point is just to build community. Not give information, not fill out forms, not go over the calendar. Just become better teammates.
- Instead of going, send a thank you note to the PTA.
- Invite members of the PTA to your next staff meeting. Show you value their insights and they are welcome in “your” space, too.
Have a question? Ask me!
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