Teachers, what do you really think of volunteers in school?

(40 Posts)
2Creamteas Sun 08-May-16 22:06:52

I mean, when a parent comes in to your class, how do you feel ? Are they useful? Or do you think "oh no, not another one!" Just interested.....

PotteringAlong Sun 08-May-16 22:08:13

I've never had one in 10 years of teaching!

wobblywonderwoman Sun 08-May-16 22:09:59

I have many volunteers. Mostly I think - thank goodness for a spare pair of hands. However some just stare and ask questions about behaviours and have no experience which makes me uncomfortable

OSETmum Sun 08-May-16 22:12:52

Definitely helpful as long as they are genuinely there to help and not just compare their little darling to the rest of the class!

CosmicOwl Sun 08-May-16 22:14:14

As wobblywonderwoman said, It really depends on the volunteer. Some, in fact most, are really natural with the children, full of common sense and a great help. With others it's a bit like having an extra child to look after.

almostthirty Sun 08-May-16 22:14:54

The good ones are worth their weight in gold. The nosey ones who judt was the to spy on you/compare their child to everyone else are a right pain in the backside!

heavenlypink Sun 08-May-16 22:19:21

I'm in a junior school. Tbh we don't have parent volunteers in class but always on visits which is a massive help. We do have a mum who comes in through the week and helps out of class with homework books, cutting, laminating, mounting and she is an absolute godsend starstarstar

kaitlinktm Mon 09-May-16 10:21:42

Primary or Secondary? I suppose it depends on both the volunteer, the reasons they are volunteering and the school.

In my experience in secondary it's fine as long as they are not judgemental. We have had experience of parent volunteers staying at the end of the lesson to tell you where you went wrong hmm and what they would have done. Really? And just how would you have insisted that they do as they were told?

One parent volunteer went on to try teacher training himself and didn't last very long - it is sometimes not clear to an observer how much time has gone in to preparation/marking, how many constraints there are about what you can actually do or say to a child and how little power you actually have if that child tells you to fuck off and you have a weak SLT.

Chrysanthemum5 Mon 09-May-16 10:25:15

Im volunteering in my DD (8) class this week to show the children how to do science experiments- their topic is plants and I used to be a botanist. DD volunteered me, but her teacher seems happy I'm coming in. I hope so, I'm really not going in to check up on anything!

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Mon 09-May-16 10:30:52

Not in the UK, so has never happened.

I think there is a huge difference between the kind of volunteering Chyrsanthemum talks about and the other sort. I still bristle when thinking about my primary school experience where the volunteer's kids were always Mary and Joseph while everyone else was 3rd carrot under the donkey, and always won the Easter bonnet parade, and were never ever ever told off for anything.

Hopefully things are a lot different now, but it was seriously fucking unfair back in the day.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Mon 09-May-16 10:31:54

I would also hope that volunteers aren;t allowed into their own kid's class, are they?

BackforGood Mon 09-May-16 10:36:36

Mostly fantastic - as long as they are reliable and come when they say they are going to.
The odd one - more of a challenge to ...erm.... 'find the right job for the person'.
But overall, the more willing hands the better.

BertPuttocks Mon 09-May-16 11:12:59

"I would also hope that volunteers aren't allowed into their own kid's class, are they?"

At ours they don't even put volunteers in the same year group as their own child, let alone in their class. It helps to weed out the ones who are only interested in seeing more of their own child and/or comparing them with others.

As a volunteer I prefer it this way. I think it makes it less awkward for everyone and it means that my own children get the chance to get away from their parents every day. grin

Acopyofacopy Fri 13-May-16 19:58:51

As a teacher, I can understand that you wouldn't want parents to help in their children's classes.
As a parent, I wanted my child to benefit from me giving up my time, sorry. If I had been told to volunteer in a different class I wouldn't have bothered.

CodyKing Sat 14-May-16 13:48:11

As a parent, I wanted my child to benefit from me giving up my time, sorry. If I had been told to volunteer in a different class I wouldn't have bothered

Most kids don't benefit from mom in their space - has the opposite effect.

Blueberry234 Sat 14-May-16 13:56:31

I volunteer and listen to reading I have loved seeing how the children have come on and I have new found appreciation for just how hard they teachers and TAs work. I go into my Sons class but next year I am hoping to continue with reception I don't want to follow my Son throughout his school years.

ShanghaiDiva Sat 14-May-16 14:04:41

I volunteer with reading and have done for over seven years. This year I am with year one (my dd is in year 5) and I love it and hope I add value. It's great seeing the children progress in year one and have to say I love it when the kids say "you look very nice today Mrs diva"

claraschu Sat 14-May-16 14:09:16

I volunteered in all my children's classes in reception, year 1 and 2. It was lovely; I got to help kids with their reading and did lots of short lessons about instruments I play. I got to know some of the children, became familiar with the teachers and TAs, and just generally felt at home in the school.

My children were always glad I was there (usually just outside the classroom doing 1 to 1 reading help), and it was never an issue for them having me there, just something nice that made one day a week a bit special.

claraschu Sat 14-May-16 14:10:33

The teachers always are appreciative as they don't have time to read 1 to 1 with each child very often, and most children really benefit from this special attention.

MabelSideswipe Sat 14-May-16 14:17:55

I volunteer in a secondary school as a Special Needs TA. Some of the teachers are lovely but some of them have spoken to me like shit. I am not sure if they know I am a parent volunteer or not but I have come very close to not bothering as coupled with the fact some of the older kids also are also awful I really don't need it from the adults.

DanyellasDonkey Sat 14-May-16 22:38:41

We are in a small town and have found that quite a few parents only "volunteer" to spy on other kids and blab about them out of school or to compare kids' progress with their own.

As a result we mainly confine them to putting up displays or photocopying.

YorkieDorkie Sat 14-May-16 22:45:15

Oh my god I wish I got a volunteer. Not had one in 3 years.

LogicalThinking Sat 14-May-16 22:52:20

I volunteered for 3 years to listen to readers. It was always appreciated by the teachers. Volunteers only worked with their child's class. I sat in the corridor so my children weren't affected by my being there. I was regularly asked to help out for other events so I have no reason to believe that the teachers didn't value my help.

claraschu Sat 14-May-16 23:28:41

In 6 years of volunteering, I never ran across anyone who was spying or blabbing. I helped loads of children with their reading, and really can't imagine why I would care how they compared to my kids.

TheSolitaryBoojum Sun 15-May-16 08:08:09

I've had a lot of lovely, long-term volunteers over the years and almost all of them were wonderful, adaptable and an asset. I've had a couple that weren't and were critical of children or nosey about things that they shouldn't be, and I had to stop them coming into class.
One-off visits from parents with a talent or expertise that they want to share with the class are fantastic.

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