Advanced search

teacher unprepared for my parent help

(208 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

iamworkingonit Fri 01-Jul-16 17:14:27

I work as a teacher but part time. I like to have some sort of contact with the school my daughter attends and as a single parent, working part time enables me to do drop her off and collect her twice a week and have some contact with the teacher and other parents.
I volunteer as a parent help once a week. Not in my daughter's class.
Two weeks ago the teacher whom I work with was away. Normally when I arrive the children are still at PE and just coming back or sometimes I am there for 5 or so minutes before they come back. I passed through the office and signed in. The office staff are really busy and that is possibly why they didn't mention the teacher's absence. Anyway after sitting in the classroom for about 10 minutes I went next door and the teacher there said she was away. I asked the head what would be the best course of action and he said just to wait in the library and collect my daughter at the end of the school day. The following week I called to check if the teacher was in. The office staff said she was so I went in. The class didn't return within a reasonable length of time so after 10 minutes or so I spoke to a TA who said the class was practising for an end of term production. I didn't want to interrupt and thought all class members would be involved. I was really angry though. I understand perfectly well how busy teachers are ( I am one) but I couldn't see why the teacher couldn't have left me something to do which didn't involve working with pupils or at best left a not saying they were in the hall. When I left the school I left the teacher a note stating that I am a busy person and that it is frustrating to take the time to come and help and not be needed. It wasn't rude but I am wondering if I should have. I got a reasonably polite email back stating that the end of the term is busy and timetables change at short notice but I do feel that it was rude and that an apology would have been in order.

witsender Fri 01-Jul-16 17:19:39

Tbh, I think it is just one of those things. I doubt your being there or not was high up on the list.

NotYoda Fri 01-Jul-16 17:22:06

I am amazed that you, as a teacher would have the energy to want to volunteer as a helper in you time off!

Are you aiming to get experience of a different age group?

Coconutty Fri 01-Jul-16 17:22:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotYoda Fri 01-Jul-16 17:24:29

Yes, end of term is nuts. I am a TA, and support staff have to be very flexible.

Unfortunately you probably are low on her list of things to think about, although of course an apology would be nice.

situatedknowledge Fri 01-Jul-16 17:25:33

YANBU. I also volunteer in a school. 2 hours, twice a week. Usually it all works out fine, I do one to one work. A new teacher joined the class this term. On the day that 'broke the camel's back' she saw me arrive in reception, saw me collect my things, saw me outside her classroom door, said hello, and then proceeded to take the class to assembly straight from the playground without saying a word. A passing TA said they'd be "5 minutes" but when they still hadn't returned after 40 minutes I felt really cross. I don't have a child in the school, and live on the other side of town. I could quite happily and easily have come in late or would happily have collected the first child from the assembly hall. As it was, I then didn't have time to do the full set of work I was supposed to do with them.

I totally get that they are busy, and have an enormous workload, but do wonder sometimes if they just assume we have nothing better to do. A little mutual respect goes a long way.

NotYoda Fri 01-Jul-16 17:25:47


Also, wondering what you normally do? If it's very general, maybe she does not need you at the moment? Maybe she wouldn't want to leave you something you don't usually do - does she know you are a teacher?

Maybe she just forgot

dogdrifts Fri 01-Jul-16 17:25:58

You are right in that it would have been nice to get an email saying 'no need for help for the rest of term' but tbh it probably just got forgotten in the carnage.
I think you are overthinking it and have now marked yourself as someone who may not be needed in future. Parent helpers are supposed to make less work for the teacher, not more.
In your shoes I would have wandered along to wherever they were rehearsing, waved at the teacher, checked to see if I was needed , and then buggered off home if not. 'Didn't want to interrupt' is a bit lame, and if you had just popped in to wherever they were rehearsing, you probably would have been put to work.
We are all busy people, and we all get caught up in moving things along when schedules change.
I actually think you might be over-rating your position as a helper tbh (it happens a lot with teachers) and in reality, you were put out for an hour at the end of term because they were in a rehearsal. Worse things happen at sea. Including for busy people. The absence week was just an everyday error. The class would still have been there though. Why didn't you find out who they were with and pop in to the class see if you were needed? The sub might have been happy to see you. Sometimes a bit of initiative is required, especially for someone who is supposedly savvy about how schools work. Otherwise you become a burden, not a help iyswim.

switswoo81 Fri 01-Jul-16 17:26:32

To be honest it would be more hassle arranging something for you to do. Teacher probably should have cancelled you but I usually can barely remember my name the last couple of weeks.

NotYoda Fri 01-Jul-16 17:26:51

yy dogdrifts

Goingtobeawesome Fri 01-Jul-16 17:28:50

I used to help in a school. More than once I turned up and my class weren't there. Most times I helped another class.

Volunteering means doing something for someone else's benefit. You sound very angry and I suggest you stop volunteering.

Kitsandkids Fri 01-Jul-16 17:32:27

I do understand it's frustrating, but don't take it personally. Yesterday I went in to listen to readers and they were practising for the end of year concert. So I sat and watched their rehearsal, which almost had me in tears as the children were just so lovely.

JudyCoolibar Fri 01-Jul-16 17:33:19

Right, AIBU up to normal contrarian standards, I see. For goodness sake, schools are constantly begging for parent volunteers. If a parent is good enough to give up their time to come and help, it's basic good manners to let them know if they're not needed, and if the teacher doesn't have time it would take her all of a minute to ask the office to make contact. If the teacher forgets, the least she can do is apologise.

As for "marking yourself as someone who may not be needed in future" - FFS! It's not a privilege, it's something done to help the school. If the teacher really is petty enough to cut off her nose to spite her face, she's probably in the wrong profession.

NotYoda Fri 01-Jul-16 17:37:39


I'd agree with you normally, but there's a tone to this one

And as for being petty, the OP is a teacher herself, so I'd have thought she'd be more flexible

I can see you don't work in a school. "But a minute" in a teacher's day can be a big thing to achieve

cansu Fri 01-Jul-16 17:41:17

am guessing that she does not really need your help at the moment. Whilst it is something you plan for and enjoy, it is just another hour in her day. It can be more effort finding something for someone to do than just sorting stuff yourself. Could you not have gone and tidied the classroom or something? I think that by sending the snotty note or email you have basically finished your helping out days there! I would also wonder why on earth a teacher would want to be a parent helper in another school?? Why do you volunteer there? Is it to find out more about the school?

FuriousFate Fri 01-Jul-16 17:42:47

I volunteer one morning a week in my children's school. This has never happened to me! The teacher I work with is excellent and will email me with any changes, if it would be better to switch mornings and so on if the children will be involved in some other activity etc. To my mind, there's being remiss and there's being rude. To mess you about more than once is just rude!

Balletblue Fri 01-Jul-16 17:43:06

If teachers are still vertical and appear to be talking at this time of year then they are doing pretty well. I'm sorry you were forgotten about.

iamworkingonit Fri 01-Jul-16 17:45:13

Nasty replies and sensible ones (thank you) as usual. Of course I asked if anyone else needed help.
I didn't realise until I became a parent help myself but being a one is not just a matter of an hour in the classroom. You have to factor in getting there on time and scheduling your day accordingly. I am not taking it personally, the teacher is perfectly nice and I would imagine the same thing would have happened had it been a different parent help. It has certainly made me a lot more aware of how to treat parent help. Having said that when I have one the helper is busy from beginning to end. It's beneficial to me and I think that's what people volunteer for.

Chupachupslips Fri 01-Jul-16 17:50:09

I can see why that would be annoying but do you think you could be a bit over powering? How old is the teacher? Could you not have found something to do off your own back?

Drink wine

Pearlman Fri 01-Jul-16 17:50:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArsMamatoria Fri 01-Jul-16 17:51:55

I left the teacher a note stating that I am a busy person and that it is frustrating to take the time to come and help and not be needed

YANBU to be annoyed (I would be too), but this sounds like a bit of an aggressive note. More polite and less counterproductive to have said something along the lines of:
"Dear X, I came in today but you were all busy with rehearsals. I'd be very grateful if you could let me know beforehand when you don't need me so I can reorganise my schedule. Thanks and best wishes, iamworkingonit"

timelytess Fri 01-Jul-16 17:53:20

Its a pita having randoms in the classroom. It makes more work. And you sound incredibly 'entitled'. So you're turning up and everyone has to be ready? Goodness.

iamworkingonit Fri 01-Jul-16 17:57:13

Thanks Ars amatoria I would certainly have been less angry had I not called mid morning that day to check. I called because I know how busy teachers are and I was confirming that it was a good idea for me to come in.

Waterlemon Fri 01-Jul-16 17:58:26

Another parent/teacher here.

Given your job, you should be able to appreciate how stressful and "full-on" the last few weeks of the Summer term are.

So although I agree that yes, you should have received an apology, I think you are being very unreasonable to be "teacher bashing" on a public forum. Particularly with the NUT going on strike next week. We have far bigger issues to be fighting and should be sticking up for each other given the current political climate!

iamworkingonit Fri 01-Jul-16 17:58:27

Rubbish I don't turn up entitled. I am absolutely prepared to do anything that is required in the classroom.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now