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Should we all participate in Parents and Teachers Association?

(14 Posts)
Surrey1 Fri 22-Apr-16 00:59:24

In Japan, many PTAs have an unwritten rule which require all parents (mainly mothers) to do PTA Management Committee work at least once during the kids' school years. There is an unwritten rule and peer pressure for working mums to take paid leave since the meetings are held on weekday daytime. There are no remuneration. The only exception to be exempted from the task is (1) you have a baby, (2) you are pregnant, or (3) you are looking after
your elderly parents.

I used to live in England and I find this Japanese system strange. Could this be considered a breach of freedom in the UK? What do you think of such "de facto compulsory participation" ? Many mums in Japan detest it yet they say "I have tolerated so you should too." Thank you for your advice.

louisejxxx Fri 22-Apr-16 06:27:46

I suppose if everyone else did it I would naturally feel obliged to do the same...

However if someone came to me in this country (UK) and asked me to join, I would have to politely decline as I just don't have enough hours in the day for it. And there's no way I'd be taking unpaid leave for it either - imagine that at meeting!? Sorry Mr Manager, but I need some extra leave to go and sell some cakes at the Xmas Fair grin

DesertOrDessert Fri 22-Apr-16 07:29:43

I think encouraging more parents to participate in school life would be good, but forced participation wouldn't go down well.
I think it is unfortunate that the same people volunteer for most things, but forcing women to take a term out of work to volunteer would be just one more reason not to employ a woman of child baring age, or with school age kids. Bad move!

Becles Fri 22-Apr-16 07:32:02

Yes. If all parents mum's and dads) took a turn the work would be shared round and there'd be less moaning about cliques from a lot of people who don't want to make the effort but resent those that make the time.

WakeUpFast Fri 22-Apr-16 07:35:27

Why do you need advice about this? 😕😉😉😉😕😕 <rubs chin>

I suppose it's one way of getting rid of the PTA martyrs who always do everything without volunteers.

Surrey1 Fri 22-Apr-16 09:45:57

Thank you all very much for the comments so far.
I am very encouraged. Here in Japan, many mums feel
that it is mums' responsibility to help the PTA.
Strangely enough, dads are not required to participate
and they are exempted from the beginning.

There are almost always no one who are willing
to commit themselves in the PTA because many mums are
working and they are so busy. So how do we
choose the Management Committee? By lottery.
Those mums who have already participated are exempted
(even if they are keen on helping the PTAs for several years in a row).
Only those mothers who have never
served in the Committee are the target of the draw which are
held on the School Open Day. I could not attend the
Open Day but my name was in the lottery and I suddenly
got a phonecall from other mum saying
"Your name was chosen by the draw so can you be in the
Committee?" It is like a trial in absentia and is a typical example of
false egalitarianism.

capsium Fri 22-Apr-16 09:51:22

If you don't want to do it just say 'No'. No one knows what responsibilities you have. It is the largely the same here regarding volunteering in one capacity or another to 'help the school'.

Surrey1 Sat 23-Apr-16 03:37:28

Thank you capsium! As you say, just saying 'No'
seems to be the only solution in this part of the world.

I have done some further research about PTAs in Japan
and have found out that membership is voluntary, not mandatory.
Maybe the last thing I can do is simply to quit.

capsium Sat 23-Apr-16 17:43:02

It is actually quite easy to quit in practice. You send an email / write your resignation and just walk away. This is voluntary there is no need for notice. I would just say you can no longer undertake the role due to family and work commitments.

tartanterror Sat 23-Apr-16 19:46:13

If others do it but detest it, then you will not be popular if you don't do your bit. Do you need any of the mum's as friends? If so think carefully. This sounds like a cultural specific question as the Japanese people are very very dutiful in a way that's difficult to comprehend in the UK!

Surrey1 Sun 24-Apr-16 12:46:03

Dear capsium and tartanterror,

Thank you for your comments.

Yes, persisting oneself might lead to being perceived as
non-cooperative and may lose your friends. Still though,
I know one single mum who is so busy with her work
that she cannot take any days off. At the same time,
she is really afraid of imagining
herself becoming unpopular that she asks her
mother (i.e. kid's grandma) to come over and do PTA work.
I can understand her fear but asking grandma or other relatives
is too much.

jpgirl Tue 10-May-16 07:46:38

The reason so many mothers help out with the PTA is because very few go back to work after childbirth; child care is too expensive and there aren't enough places, and rampant sexism in the workplace in the rife in a country where it isn't illegal to fire a woman for being pregnant!

On the upside; PTA enkais are legendary wink so it's not all bad getting involved.

Surrey1 Wed 11-May-16 14:01:43

jpgirl-san, thank you for your message. It was nice to
see comments from a peer living in the same country!
I guess the notion of time might be different among those
who are working and those who are not ...

t4gnut Wed 11-May-16 14:10:19

Hell no - British PTAs are for the busybodies and trolls.

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