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Are all parents who help in school seen as busybodies by other parents?

(44 Posts)
Fuzzymum1 Wed 21-Nov-12 23:13:18

I don't care if I'm seen as a busybody particularly but I would be interested to know how people view parents who help in school.

I was a parent governor for about 12 years while my older children were at the school, I was also on the PTA during that time and built up good relationships with the teachers and headteacher. I was very careful not to use my position as a governor to further my kids' needs and have several times voted for things that benefit the school as a whole while not being what I would choose for my own child etc.

Since DS3 started at the school I have started going in to read with children in KS1 - I told the head when I stood down from the governing body that I wanted to stay involved and she suggested I go in and read - I did a 2 day training course on a reading intervention program and do that with a couple of children and normal reading with other children. This involves me being in school three afternoons a week. I also do a couple of shifts at the after-school club each week (paid) and emergency cover for the dinnerladies (also paid). I have been asked to accompany various classes on trips too. I see what I do as supporting the school as a whole and have no direct involvement with my own child at school though some of the reading is with children in his class and occasionally his teacher will chat briefly about him while I'm there.

Would I be seen as a busybody? A mug? I get the impression on MN that mums who are in school quite a bit and go on trips etc are not seen in the best light.

owlelf Fri 23-Nov-12 19:29:56

I help at DC school one morning a week, on my day off. I asked DS' teacher if there was anything I could do to help and she practically bit my arm off.

I read with Children who aren't read with at home, do some very basic phonics and numeracy with children who need some additional help (I have been trained for this and know in an ideal world it would be done by a TA but school budgets have been cut for this), supervise the 'friendship corner' at break time, and do whatever else I'm asked to do.

I do it because I genuinely want to help. I'm not interested in comparisons or being nosey. I'm pretty sure that DS's teacher has more time to concentrate on teaching because she has some parent volunteers to help out.

I never ever repeat anything outside of school, nor would I offer any opinions while volunteering.

I'm a bit hmm that so many people would jump to the conclusion that I'm a busybody. I'm pretty sure that if that was the case DS' teacher would be well aware if it and wouldn't want me in her classroom.

seeker Fri 23-Nov-12 14:14:52

Only by stupid other parents.

anice Fri 23-Nov-12 14:11:43

I help in school and no one has ever called me a busybody for it.

I used to help in my DCs classes as that was the norm at the previous school, and yes, it did have the side effect of telling me which children were to be avoided when arranging playdates! However, mostly I felt that i was freeing up the teacher from menial tasks so that she could get one with teaching the class, which was going to help my DC.

Then we moved school and I help again but this time, parent helpers are not allowed in their own child's class. I have to say that i think this is a better system, even though it was nice seeing my children in their classroom. The children I help with are lovely and a joy to be around. I just do what the teacher tells me to do and I try to be proactive so that directing me doesn't end up being an extra task for the teacher.

It never occurred to me that someone would think badly of me for doing this, but If someone does think badly of me, then all I can say is that its their problem that they are so bitter.

SnowWide Fri 23-Nov-12 13:17:17

See, I really do no understand the need for parents to go into school to "help out". Are classrooms so woefully understaffed that parents have to be roped in?

But I did not go to school in the UK, so not really qualified to comment on the system. When I was little {tedious nostalgia alert} the teachers managed just fine on their own with homework, trips etc. There weren't even TAs around, much less parent helpers swanning around the place.

But as I said, the education system is more hands-on now. None of the "copy down pages 10-16 in your homework books". Still makes me perplexed when I see parents dressed up as Tudor wenches or Julius Caesar lending a hand at the schools.

And worse yet, the judgemental asides, "You are not helping out?? You really should, you know...."

Elibean Fri 23-Nov-12 13:13:36

Not unless you mean bodies who are busy....

Thankfully, not come across too many paranoid, judgemental types at our school - or controlling busybodies. Parents who can help do, parents who can't don't, and staff are hugely grateful for parents who can and do - as are many of the parents who can't.

Fuzzymum, good for you - keep doing what you're doing!

plainjayne123 Fri 23-Nov-12 13:13:29

It's daft to say helpers go in to compare child's level to others, if they want to know they ask where they are and which ability table they sit on, and if they don't know this they should

PickledGerkin Fri 23-Nov-12 13:01:58

*display boards not dispay!

PickledGerkin Fri 23-Nov-12 13:01:17

Oooh interesting, I help in school and have done for a few years now.

I totally agree with Urban grin and I hate that type of parent. Me personally, I am a SAHM with two children in school. We are categorically not allowed to work in the same year as our own child.

I am happy to do the most boring repetitive tasks to free up the TAs to enable them to help in the classroom. So every week I trim down 90 sheets of homework (A4 is too big for the books) and I glue them in. I help with dispay boards and I also help on the swim run. I don't actually go into a classroom unless needed but we have 1 TA per class.

I hopefully fall into the first category, I let my children choose their friends, I don't care where your child's coat comes from only that it has a name label so when it is kicked across the cloakroom I know which of the 90 pegs it goes on.

I genuinely want to help children, my own confidence was shot as a child so I try to always spin a positive on their work, take time to look at a child when they are talking to me and try to make learning fun.

cat98 we have a few Mums who just come in for 1 hour a couple of times a week to hear children read.

plainjayne123 Fri 23-Nov-12 12:37:49

I am a reading volunteer, we are put with our child's class as it is thought that is what we would want, fair enough - it's nice to give a wave. I only read with the ones that need a lot of support. If parents want to know how their child is doing compared to rest of class they can ask, seems easier than volunteering every week to help at school!

RyleDup Thu 22-Nov-12 22:54:31

I'm sure you can't beertricks smile.

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 22-Nov-12 22:50:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 22-Nov-12 22:45:09

no, I am envious that they have time and don't have to work 9-5. I will never be able to help out at school although I'm sure DS1 would love me to. FWIW all the PTA and helpers seem great at our school

Fuzzymum1 Thu 22-Nov-12 22:42:29

Sorry I haven't got back to this before now, I'm glad to hear that most people wouldn't see me as a busybody. I started off working with a completely different year group/class to my DS - I'm still working with the same teacher and DS has come up into her class (small school, mixed age classes)

The closest I get to working with DS is saying hello when I arrive in the classroom to take out one of the children or bring them back to the classroom. Occasionally I'm there when it's playtime and he (among a group of his friends) will come and chat to me if I go out into the playground.

AlwaysHoldingOnToStarbug Thu 22-Nov-12 22:39:50

I volunteer and go into DS5's class. I love listening to them read and really enjoyed helping them do an art class and playtime! DS5 can get a bit silly and clingy but I tell him to get on with it and let his teacher deal with him.

I've helped out on trips. I don't care what anyone thinks, I'm a big kids, I'm only going for fun! grin

I'm actually enjoying it all a lot more than I thought I would. I haven't worked since I had ds1 13 years ago, so it's nice to go and do something different and occasionally I get to talk to an adult too!

RyleDup Thu 22-Nov-12 21:02:05

I wouldn't volunteer in my own childrens class. Don't think it would do dc any favours having me there all day, and it doesn't seem very professional somehow.

SunflowersSmile Thu 22-Nov-12 18:24:43

I would not want to volunteer in same class as either of my children; would seem uncomfortable.
I do volunteer at their school but in a year they are not in.
I do enjoy it and therefore do get something out of it. I hope the children do too and I am not seen as a nuisance!

BuddyTheChristmasElf Thu 22-Nov-12 18:03:08

yes and no

I don't believe that anyone does this for truely altruistic reasons, it serves the person as much as they serve the school. For some people it serves them to fill their time, for some it helps their cv, for some it builds their confidence etc etc, and for some it serves their busy body purpose!

I do voluntary work with schools, and a large percentage of the parents only help out to hang out with their own kids, they don't even NOTICE if one of the other children they're meant to be helping with (small groups, like 5 kids) need something! they just get in the way! every now and one you get a parent helper who genuinely helps out with the whole group, but mostly they're just there for themselves unfortunately. It looks like you have more adults:children on the paperwork, but really they're just 1:1ing their own kids a lot of the time. We did propose that parents go with a group that their child isn't in (so on the same trip as their child., just a few feet away with another group) and there was uproar!

blanksquit Thu 22-Nov-12 17:56:01

I think as long as you're professional and not gossiping about it, not a busybody but an asset to the school.

sittinginthesun Thu 22-Nov-12 14:30:26

I wondered about this too, although our school seems to welcome help, and many parents are involved in some way.

I am a governor, and I also help in the school once a week. The helping bit came first (it is a specific task, which I love doing, and didn't initially involve the actual children). The governor bit is more or less invisible, even though that is the most time consuming.

I hope I don't come across as a busybody...

MoreBeta Thu 22-Nov-12 14:12:10

Some parent helpers, Governors, PTA are fine people more or less invisibly doing a largely thankless task for no reward.

Some parent helpers, Governors, PTA are busy bodies who want to dominate and control other parents and frankly in my experience can be extremely destructive and generally deeply resented by others who just want to lend a hand.

I have met both types and frankly had a run in a with a few of the second type. Indeed, my observation is they need to go and get a proper job and leave the school alone.

redadmiralsinthegarden Thu 22-Nov-12 14:03:34

i help out at my DSs' school. it wouldn't occur to me that i was being seen as a busybody, tbh! i am a teacher myself, but not currently at work, so i like to be useful.
i help in ds2's class, but only as that's the teacher that wanted the help. Ds2 likes me there, but it doesn't seem to interfere with his work.

Startail Thu 22-Nov-12 13:55:58

I've done PTA and helped with things because it gets me out the house, I enjoy it, in one small field I have skills to offer and a very practical DH to loan out.

And yes, living out of the village and not being one of the in crowd, it did let me keep an eye on what's going on.
Especially with a dippy dyslexic DD1 who would forget what she was told.

CocktailQueen Thu 22-Nov-12 13:49:30

No, I don't think so! And for those of you who think they ARE, then how do you think your child would be listened to every week, how do you think they'd do craft activities that are too time consuming for teacher/TA to manage, how do you think they'd manage to take children on school trips?? EVERYONE with children has other demands on thei time - job, home, whatever. Yet some people make time to go in and help at school.

I help in both my dc's classes one afternoon a week hearing readers, and go on school trips when I can. I like the fact that I'm in my dc's classes. I have helped with them the whole way through the school - I get asked to go on trips etc as the children know me and I'm CRB checked so they don;t have to CRB check another parent instead.

I certainly hope people don't think I'm a busybody - though there is always the competitive parent who says they'll volunteeer every week but then only turns up once a term and only then to gauge everyone's reading levels and see who's on top table and moan if their dc is not there

craftynclothy Thu 22-Nov-12 13:44:51

What urban said.

RyleDup Thu 22-Nov-12 13:41:43

Urban, completely spot on.

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