by Jeremy Greensmith - PS 321K teacher and La Guardia High School parent

Once you have established a good relationship with the principal, good relationships with teachers are often the key to creating lively events and activities that engage the school community and supplement its curriculum. It is teachers who have daily relationships with children and their parents and many are delighted to help the PTA support the school and students’ educations when asked.

Volunteers should not be shy to approach classroom teachers if they want to create momentum for an event. Teachers cannot fundraise directly, but they can help engage (and enthuse) children in community-building activities from talent shows to diversity days. Most teachers value finding a broader audience for the activities of their students and want to build school community.

For PTAs seeking to develop curriculum-based events, working collaboratively with teachers can be crucial. Teachers can advise parent volunteers about the work they are doing in the classroom and help parents weave themes and strategies into the events to maximize their impact on students’ learning. Some PTAs invite teachers to participate at the events themselves, though if they are after school hours, teachers’ participation, of course, is voluntary. Read-a-thons, Math Nights, Green & Healthy events, and student art galleries, for example, all will benefit from teacher involvement.

A good place for volunteers to find willing collaborating teachers is by starting with the teachers of their own children. Most teachers will be pleased to be asked about events that would fit the culture of the school and inspire the children. They will also have suggestions about colleagues who would enjoy helping organize activities, and may even offer to recruit other teachers.