Being the president of the PTO/ PTA can seem intimidating. Sure, there are some stressful situations, but it can also be quite rewarding. Of course, not all leadership has to be the president, either. Keep in mind, there are lots of officers and leaders, and the experience it gives you can be life-changing. Here are a few benefits of being a PTO leader in your child’s school PTA or PTO.
Many relationships get built in the PTA. Many people only consider the obvious relationships like those with school administrators, but many other relationships get forged as a leader in the PTA.
The parent-child relationship is a delicate one at times. One of the best ways to get off on the right foot is to become a leader in the PTA or PTO. This will demonstrate your commitment to your child and their education from the get-go. You will also be on campus more often, so your child will see your activity in the school.
It’s hard to make friends with other parents. However, you will meet many more parents with your values by working with the PTA. As a leader, you might also network with professionals that can help your career later, but for this time, you are there to meet like-minded parents.
This relationship is the most commonly considered among relationship-building at the school. Parents get to understand the reasons that the administrators make many of the decisions because they work more closely together.
Some staff members get overlooked but keep the school running. For example, the custodial staff and school secretaries are often forgotten when it comes time to thank the people who keep the school running, but you will build relationships with these staff members and learn that they are the backbones of the school.
Parent-teacher relationships can be challenging. However, as a leader, it is up to you to let the faculty see what the goals are and be an ear for the faculty to voice their concerns.
Make a Difference as a PTA or PTO Leader
A significant part of the PTA/PTO’s job is to raise funds for the school. Parents sometimes get tired of fundraisers, but as a leader, you will get to see where that money goes. When you get to put a new air conditioner in the gym or update the school cafeteria tables, it feels pretty good. As a leader, you often get to be present during ribbon-cutting and presentations of the new equipment. Children, teachers, and parents are often grateful for the comfort and safety provided by the changes in the school.
In addition to whole school benefits, you will sometimes make a difference to individual classrooms. PTOs generally try to help classes with supplies or give teachers gift cards for supplies. When you see the results of these efforts, sometimes it is heart-warming. Teachers spend so much of their own money in the classroom. When they get the opportunity to get more supplies with donated money, they sometimes opt for more items than initially intended. This makes teaching much more manageable.
The PTA/PTO doesn’t have to be all about money. Sometimes it is nice just to spend time in the classrooms with the students. As a PTA/PTO leader, you can organize volunteer days to get more people in classrooms to be an extra pair of hands. Teachers with a moment to use the bathroom or spend time one-on-one with students are eternally grateful to the volunteer who made it possible.
One of the best things about being a leader is feeling like you have some control over what is happening in your child’s school. Sure, you can’t control everything, but having a say in the activities, fundraisers, and spending in the school feels like you are personally making changes and influencing the school.
One thing that some PTA leaders learn is that they belong in education. While you might have immediate influence over the things that happen in your child’s school, it could be a wake-up call for a career change. Many teachers are career-changers who found their calling after being in the PTA or PTO. They see how hard teachers work and are rewarded with something other than money. The benefits of teaching for the outcome can be very appealing to many leaders.
Everything is what you make of it. Being a PTA or PTO leader is about more than one person. You will find that you build lasting relationships in and outside of the school. Some of the most important changes might just be internal changes or those that take place at home. Building a positive relationship with your child can be one of the most difficult things you will do as a parent. Being an active PTA leader can make that a little easier.