Last week I was asked to present to a group of Head Teachers in the Southside of Glasgow at one of their meetings on my experiences of being a parent who helps in my child’s school. Mainly as I do a lot of Computing & ICT work with them – the day itself was a day full of talks by HT’s about technology in schools. So my talk was kind of a 2 issue talk – one about getting parents involved and two using technology in schools which I’ll write about in another post.
The first part of my talk was mainly discussing what everyone gets out of me helping in the school. Well in my case the HT gets someone with a wee bit of spare time & subject specialist knowledge, the staff get someone who can help with ICT/Computing lessons (and deliver CPD sessions to further knowledge if needed) but most importantly the children are the ones who benefit by getting more out of their lessons and after school clubs. The children are ultimately the most important reason I do what I do. I’ve been involved with activities in the school for over 10 years now and while all I’ve done has been only for the benefit of the school it’s really only in the past few years I’ve gotten properly involved in the educational side of helping and realising that at the end of the day it’s for the children’s benefit. Firstly with my research for my honours work and subsequent PhD thesis (just about done) but in undertaking that work led me to want to help out more in the educational side of things and asked if I could be involved more and haven’t left since. My initial involvement was working with teachers in helping them get the most out of their ICT lessons and eventually it grew to me running my own afterschool clubs in the school which have now been going for over 18 months. Yes folk do think I’m a bit crazy doing this stuff BUT and here’s the BUT why would you not want to be involved in your child’s school if you got the chance? You don’t need anything apart from a willingness to give up a wee bit of your time to come help in your child’s school even a wee hour a week if you can. I am sure many schools out there have many parents who can offer that wee bit of time.
PARENTS/CARERS you CAN make a difference and HEAD TEACHERS if you don’t already then get to know all of your parents/carers find out what their strengths are and get then involved by encouraging them. As a HT it’s not just the children you work with but ultimately us parents/carers too and by building relationships it will only benefit the school and in turn the children. You never know what skills your parents/carers have until you go investigating!!!
I do actually get a lot out of the stuff I do in school too. Seeing children grow in confidence in their abilities in the work they do in the club – presenting to people who have visited our club without hesitation, having the children invited to talk to teachers outside of the school. I am very proud when I see the children do these things as I know I’ve played a part in that. There is the other side too for my own professional development I’ve had loads of support in getting my own career going which has been invaluable to me.
For me I’ve learned that the school is more than just a building I send my children to, to be educated it’s a place where staff go above and beyond for families too and that for me is what makes the school. That’s why I’m always more than happy to help out by giving back to the school while I am able to.