PTO problem?

missy1313August 18, 2006

Hi, I am the President of my sons schools PTO and founder. We have had 3 very successful years with maybe 1% involvement from our Teachers. We give them gifts,lunches,etc. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get my teachers involved with PTO? We do alot of fun things with our students and we have a Fun Family Night every month but I have yet to see any of our teachers show up.


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At my school (I'm a teacher), we have pretty good teacher participation. I rarely attend the family fun nights, because after a long week, I just want to kick back with my own family and vege, not see more of whom I've seen all week. Our administration strongly encourages PTA membership, and we usually have close to 100% membership. Our PTA has been very generous with gifts, grants, lunches, etc., which we all appreciate very much. Our PTA gives $50 per teacher for misc. classroom supplies and books, as well as grade level and department minigrants of $250-$500. In order to be eligible for these, a teacher must belong to the PTA. I'd get with your administrator and ask how they can help. If we don't join PTA, an administrator puts another membership envelope in our mailboxes with a nice note detailing why we should join. Coming from administration and not parents, this seems to cut down on the complaints, or at least the complaints that would be directed at you. The faculty runs a booth at the school carnival (bake sale) and we have no trouble staffing it each year. Faculty also gives door prizes and raffle items for the carnival. I think we, parents, staff and kids work well together. I'd rely on your principal for suggestions.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 9:40AM
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I imagine this is largely regional, but as a parent and a teacher, myself, who has dealt with many different school systems, I've found that normally there is very, very little teacher participation in the PTA (or PTO, whichever). Teachers work long enough days, many live many miles outside of the district where they teach, and most simply don't come back in the evening to attend PTA meetings, unless there's a specific reason (they're presenting a request for a needed item in their classroom, for example). And in a lot of towns, the meetings are held during school hours, anyway, so it's impossible for teachers to attend.

While you can try involving teachers--maybe invite different ones to present at your meetings. They could do a brief talk about things parents could do at home to help students learn to love learning--maybe one teacher could talk about books, one could do crafts, one could show a video of local points of interest that make for good family trips (or school field trips), etc. Be sure you give them a nice gift and a thank you note--maybe a gift basket, or a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

But don't be too discouraged if you don't get a lot of teachers giving up their free time to come to your PTA meetings. Remember, most of them get to school 30-60 minutes before your child arrives, and they stay much later in the afternoon. Then, when they go home, they have hours of planning, grading, etc to do on their own time--along with taking care of their homes, going to PTA meetings for THEIR children, community activities, family functions, etc. Being a teacher is a very demanding, tiring, time-consuming job. Most of them simply don't have a lot of extra time at the end of the day--not if they're doing their job well.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 9:08AM
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We resolved that problem by asking the principal to help us find a teacher who would be the teacher rep to our board and would llike to attend our meetings regularly. The idea was that this teacher would report back to the staff at their lunch time or staff meetings.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 3:10PM
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I know my post is off topic but i have a question for pto.
I want to write a letter to the pto board. I want to make an impact with the pto. I hope that makes sense. I have to keep my name out of it though. So I was wondering who would I write it to. Since for starters the president of our pto is not going to care. Who would be the best person to write it to?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 5:03PM
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Teachers are stretched like you wouldn't believe. Many are parents and when they do get home, spend the time shopping, cleaning, running errands, helping their kids with homework, making dinner, laundry, taking classes that are required to maintain certification...etc

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 10:51PM
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I know this is a late response. And I hope you are looking for honest answers....I think you may be expecting too much from the teachers.

I'm a teacher and I am at school over an hour before classes begin and stay an hour or two after as well. I do committee work, supervise extracurriculars, and sit on divisional committees. Each report card period I put in at least thirty hours of my own time working on reports at home and the list goes on. I've also started night courses to work on my Master's.

Our parent council comes up with activities for the community too, and they put huge pressure on us to attend, and honestly, we resent it. Sorry if that's too blunt. The thing is, we do all the school events and divisional expectations, and then for the PC to create more things for us to do is just a little too much to ask.

I'm not trying to be negative here, but teachers have families, too, and we like to be home with them as well. You've mentioned monthly family nights. That means nine or ten more evenings you are asking them to give. And to give for free.

Recently we had a school dance. It was totally a parent council idea as the teachers felt it was completely age inappropriate. (We are a K to four school.) Only one teacher went, and the PC made many comments to us about that. No one seemed to care that we had families too (and no, bringing them to the K to 4 dance where they'd know no one and we couldn't be with them as we'd be stuck doing supervision instead wasn't a selling point either).

I apologize if this is coming across as negative, but the truth is your teachers are probably already putting in way more time than they should, and certainly a lot more than they are being paid for. Perhaps you could talk to admin about requiring one teacher to attend each PTO (PC) meeting over the year (that way it's only one extra night for each person) but I don't think you can really expect them to attend activities that you plan and initiate.

Our new PC president is very vocal about creating more evenings for us, and it's causing a great deal of strife. Our admin backs us and says we don't have to come, but the PC members still catch us in the hall and add pressure. It's not a good thing. If anything it's causing us to avoid some of them completely. No one likes being put on the spot and challenged for not giving up more of your time for free when you are already doing so much.

I would suggest you continue to invite (gently) staff, but that you simply be understanding about them not wanting to come. The events may be fun for you and the families, but they are another evening of working for free and being away from their own families for the teachers.

Think of it this way. I don't know if you are currently working, but say you worked at a bank. Would you want to go to monthly customer fun days? Even if the customers took over the official planning, would you really feel like a guest? Or would you be stuck working in one capacity or another? And would you want to bring your family too?

I'd say, show appreciation for what your staff does, and don't add to their workload. Sorry if this isn't what you were looking for.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 1:45AM
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I agree with the above.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 4:52PM
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