Archive for PTO

Dear parents, teachers … love the PTO president

Posted in Family, Ranting with tags , , , , , on November 18, 2008 by bloggingmom67

I took over as fundraising coordinator this year fongr the PTO at my kids’ elementary school. I think I’d rather swallow knives. Really, it is that bad.

What makes it so bad is other parents — and teachers — who don’t seem to realize that my gig as PTO president (co-president, actually) is not a 24/7, 365-day, corporate on-call job with a six-figure salary and yearly bonuses. In fact, it’s an unpaid volunteer position that shouldn’t take hours out of my workday on a regular basis.

Why does it take so much time? Mainly stupidity on the part of parents and teachers. Stupidity that requires much effort on my part to fix. I’m sorry. Stupidity is the only word for what some teachers and parents have done. So, here is my list of things that I wish parents and teachers would do — to make my life a whole lot easier — and to stop me from vowing to never be in charge of fundraising again.

Parents:

  1. When you submit an order for the school fundrasier, please, please  write legibly and include your child’s name on the order. My psychic powers are rusty, so when an order comes in without a name — or even a room number or teacher’s name — it makes it hard to know who is ordering.
  2. If you decide to cross out half the order and then change your mind, please rewrite the order items. If you can’t read it, you can bet I can’t.
  3. On that topic, if you cross out half the order, please don’t reinstate the order by sending your child into school with a plastic baggie of cash — and no note explaining what the bag o’ cash is for. (See item 1 about rusty psychic powers.)
  4. Please don’t wait until three weeks after you’ve received your child’s order to call and complain that something is missing but you don’t know what. That’s almost impossible to fix.
  5. Don’t hand in your child’s order a month after the deadline. Period. Ever. Deadlines are there for a reason. Really.

Teachers:

  1. Remember that the money we raise in fundraisers helps you do your job better. So please, I’m begging here, hand out the fundraising order in a timely basis. Don’t leave it on your desk for days because the kids won’t have time to get orders.
  2. Please glance over the orders from your classroom. I don’t expect you to total each order, but I do expect you to notice if the order has no name or teacher’s name. One teacher might have four or five orders to glance over; I have hundreds. I need your help here, so the PTO can raise money for you.
  3. Don’t call me a month after the fundraiser deadline and ask if someone can still turn in an order. Really, what do you think?
  4. Please take no money from a child for a fundraising order without leaving a note of explanation of what the money if for. A bag o’ cash does us very little good.
  5. Please glance at the directions on the order, so you can explain to your students what they need to do. Remember, some of them are kindergartners or first-graders, so they cannot yet read well. If you explain the directions — which are clearly printed on the fundraising sheet — they might just tell their parents. Maybe. We can hope.

Much love, Bitchy Mommy, PTO co-president

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PTO does prepare you for U.S. vice presidency — Not!

Posted in Politics, Ranting with tags , , , on October 15, 2008 by bloggingmom67

When Sarah Palin was named John McCain’s running mate, she pointed to her tenure as a PTA president as part of her qualifications for the U.S. vice presidency.

That got me thinking. I’m PTO president at my kids’ 900-student school in a district of about 25,000 children in a city of roughly 150,000 people. What have I learned as PTO leader that might prepare one to be second in command to the leader of the free world?

  • Fund-raising: I spend much of my PTO time organizing and executing fundraisers. So far this fall, I’ve organized a fundraiser where the kids get catalogs full of candles, candy, wrapping paper and whatnot to sell to their family and friends. We’re thinking we’ll raise about $3,000. In the spring, we’ll sell Gertrude Hawk candy, just in time for Easter. Perhaps, as VP this knowledge could come in handy — especially if the economy doesn’t revive. The VP may be in charge of fund raising to keep our way of life from collapsing even more than it already has.
  • Making important decisions: So far this year, as president, I’ve made key executive decisions such as: to send a thank you note to the art teacher who helped with a project and a parent who donated $100. Also, I decided that we need to have a budget report at each meeting, and that we need to ask two parents to help with fund raising and after-school activities. Under my leadership, we’ve started sending our meeting agendas to the officers before the meeting, so they can review them.  This experience making split-second important decisions could help me as I help the president decide such things as whether to attack another country where weapons of mass destruction have not been found.
  • Negotiating to reach a resolution: There’s quite a bit of politics in the PTO, you know. There’s the principal, who has her own agenda and would probably prefer to squash me like a bug. There’s my co-president, whose main focus is setting up after-school programs such as Karate and Soccer, so she doesn’t really care about my main bugaboo, fund raising. One member likes to bring up complicated projects, but not offer to lead them. Then there’s the secretary, who sometimes is just a pain in the caboose. Working with them, however, has taught me how to deal with people I don’t always agree with. Could come in handy in the area of foreign policy.
  • Organizing events: One of our main goals as PTO is to throw the teachers a “welcome back to school breakfast” and an “end of year lunch.” Both are complicated projects, especially when the person who organized the event the previous didn’t keep copious notes of such things as how much lunch meat, rolls, bagels, coffee to buy. That happened last year, and what a bitch it was. We had to start from scratch and figure out how much 125 teachers would really eat. (Who knew, they loved mayonnaise so much.) We just made it, with a few hard rolls to spare at the luncheon. But at this year’s back-to-school breakfast we faced a major calamity. We didn’t realize we had to ask the janitor to set up the huge coffee maker hours before the event, so it would have time to brew. What a mess. We had to make coffee quickly in small pots and carry it into the cafeteria. People actually had to wait for their coffee. It was almost as bad as the previous year when we forgot the cream and sugar, and I made the executive decision to send a PTO member to the store to get some. This kind of training of thinking on my feet will make me aptly ready to handle a confusing crisis, such as a cataclysmic hurricane or other natural disaster.

So there you have it. Being PTO president really is a great preparation for the vice presidency of the United States. Palin really doesn’t even need that experience as Wasilla mayor and Alaska governor, does she?

What do you think? Post a comment.

By they way, I am being very sarcastic here, folks.

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