So this year I volunteered to become a class parent. What have I done???!!!
I have been a school mum for the last 15 years, give or take. My eldest son is now doing his Uni degree and my youngest child is now in Year 2. The middle boy is in Year 8 and the middle girl is in Year 6. So it’s safe to say that I got the school mum thing down pat.
But never ever have I attempted to take the coveted role of the class parent before. I hadn’t the time nor the slightest inclination. I was working part time, full time then part time again. The joys of work-life balance. So taking on class parenting duties was the furthest thing from my mind. It’s effort with a capital E!
This year though, in a “Yes, I can totally do it, I am SuperMum” induced moment, I bit the bullet, raised my hand and told the teacher that I’d give it a shot. “Sounds fun!” *gulp*
I was obviously delusional. I blame child bearing, child birthing and child rearing for my diminishing brain cells. There was some scientific thing behind this logic, I just don’t remember where I read it.
See I told you.
Diminishing. Brain. Cells.
Anyway where was I? Oh yeah class parenting.
It wasn’t really as full on as I’d imagined it to be. The school where my two younger daughters go are very supportive of class parents. They believe that the children, parents and teachers gain a lot out of it. So all in all, it’s for a good cause. And who am I to get in the way of a good cause?
I put on my almost-grown-up-mum knickers, attended the “information night” and met some of the other class parents. They were not as scary as I thought them to be. I was imagining mum-zillas! The P&C president handed out leaflets on the night. A class parenting handbook of some sort. It was pretty straightforward.
Exhibit A: Your role
- Help with communication between the families of children in the class, with the teacher, school and P&C Committees. <— I have a Degree in Communications plus I am a certified Social Media Ninja so how hard can this be?
- Help to make families feel part of the school <— Bring out my inner Kumabaya-ist.
Exhibit B: What does the class parent do?
- Make a list of names and contact details of class families <— Excel is your friend.
- Support your class teacher as required. <— Easy peasy!
- E-mail important information to class families from the school or P&C Committees.<— I have a love hate affair with my inbox. But this gig is for a good cause. So suck it up.
- Organises social activities for class families. <— This is probably my favourite bit. I am attempting to organise an end-of-school-year get together at our local park. Bring your own food and wine. My kind of school mums soiree!
- Attend P& C Meetings <— There’s always coffee and biscuits. And I get to skip making dinner. Win!
- Liaise between teacher and parents of the class. <— Can totally do this with my eyes closed.
Exhibit C: Things to consider when acting as class parent
- The cultural diversity of families in the class <— Our school is very multicultural. Aside from English, the main languages spoken by our school families are Mandarin and Cantonese. Some families have been in Australia for less than a year. And I am a migrant myself so this is way right up my alley.
- Family and work commitments of parents on the class <— Some parents in our class missed attending the “Meet the Teacher” evening so I, with my class parent hat on, sent a note (printed on paper no less) to the parents via the class teacher telling them to contact me ASAP as I don’t want them missing out on the fun. I am so rocking this class parenting gig!
- The diversity of carers.<— Shout-out to all the Grandparents.
- The ability of some parents to speak English confidently. <— I love how our school has a Chinese translator (a parent herself) volunteering to translate the documents for the Chinese parents. We attach the files to the emails and send them on their merry bilingual way. I can’t obviously read Mandarin or Cantonese but I feel all smart just by virtue of association.
There was another document that they gave us on the night but it’s the boring, formal version so I won’t bother sharing that with you.
So far, I am actually loving being a class parent. I feel very much part of the school community and my seven-year-old daughter proudly tells everyone in her class that her mum is ‘The Class Parent’. Priceless!
Are you a class parent? Care to share your wisdom?