2005-08-25 / Direct Answers

Answers from the Teacher

I was thinking of becoming a classroom parent for my daughter’s third-grade class. What kinds of tasks might be expected from me?

The responsibilities of classroom parents vary greatly both from school to school and classroom to classroom. You should speak to the teacher as soon as you can to find out what specifically you might be expected to do. Some classroom parents are in-volved in everyday activities, perhaps assisting the teacher in weekly or month-ly activities. You might be expected to do anything from copying to working one-on-one with a kid who needs some help. In other situations, classroom parents’ responsibility may be to contact parents for specially scheduled classroom activities or parties.

Classroom parents may also be the first called upon to chaperone class trips or assist with classroom performances, so you’ll need to have a flexible schedule. You may be expected to recruit other parents to help with special projects or to ask for supplies or baked goods for the next classroom social event.

Find out what level of participation is expected then offer what you can to the teacher. If you’re not able to fulfill the expectations of the full-fledged classroom parent, consider offering your skills on a short-term or as-needed basis. Ask yourself what special skills you possess that you may want to contribute to your daughter’s third-grade experience. Perhaps your contribution could be to come in once a month to assist the teacher with a special project. Or you may want to offer a more “behind the scenes” sort of assistance such as making snacks for classroom events or parties. Either way, you’re volunteering your time to support her and her teacher will show your daughter that you really care about what she’s up to in school.

My son has decided to try out for soccer this year. He’s never played a sport after school, so I’m worried he won’t be able to complete all his home-work if he’s at practice or games for two hours everyday after school.

If he’s interested, you should allow him to go out for soccer. The best way to head off any time management problems is working out a plan with your son ahead of time. Ask him how he plans to manage his time so he’ll be able to balance both sports and academics. He will have to make choices that may eliminate some of his “hanging out” time with his friends who don’t play soccer, but he will be gaining a lot of camaraderie on the field with his teammates. He’ll be learning first hand the importance of managing time efficiently. Time management takes practice. He’ll be gaining much more than soccer skills if he’s on the team.

In most areas, after-school sports don’t cost extra money. Given what your son will learn about sportsmanship and perseverance, and what he’ll probably gain in conditioning and per-sonal health, you certainly can’t beat the price.

Opportunities to play team sports are harder to come by as your son enters adulthood. High school may be his last opportunity to participate in this valuable experience.

Send questions to: Answers from the Teacher, P.O. Box 54, South Egremont, MA 01258. Questions may also be e-mailed to answersfromtheteacher@adelphia.net.

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