Why Parents Don’t Want to Volunteer

At the beginning of the school year, I guilted myself into volunteering in The Princess’s classroom at school. Now, I’m a work-at-home-mom (WAHM), and three days a week I’ve got Pumpkin home with me too. My schedule is erratic and I honestly did not want to be tied into a set schedule. I realize the teacher needs to know when people will be there, and I’m not a moron – I get it and respect that. But… My god.

I couldn’t make it in to the classroom on last Tuesday. I was wrapping up my battle with my cold bug and didn’t want to pass it on to the kids. I had a deadline for work I was aiming to hit. And then I got the phone call about my grandfather. My next scheduled day in the classroom was two weeks later (I’m on an every-other-Tuesday morning schedule). Nope – instead, the teacher moved up my Tuesday to THIS WEEK TUESDAY. You know, because I wasn’t there last week.

Sorry. It doesn’t work that way for me. I do not have infinite amounts of free time. I have a dental appointment tomorrow (the girls went today – but I seriously hate having to try to pay attention to what they’re doing when I’ve got that icky bitewing X-ray cardboard stuffed in my mouth). I’ve got work-work. My Tuesdays aren’t interchangeable. Emailed Teach and said, “My calendar shows I’m due in on the 21st – I hope that still works for you.” Got a short note back, “It’s fine. Does that mean you’ll be in on 11/4?” Siiiiiiiiiigh. Yes.

Y’know, I opted to volunteer to be active in my kid’s schooling and to be involved and be PRESENT. The last time I went in, the teacher scheduled me to arrive ten minutes before the kids all took off for thirty minutes of gym class, and I spent the time cutting maple leaves out of construction paper in the school office because there was nothing else for me to do. Now, I’m scheduled during what they call “team time” – when my daughter won’t even BE in that classroom because she’s in the highest reading level and that meets with a different teacher. So, I’m doing this for my kid… and she’ll probably never even see me?

I know that teachers do an incredible amount of work with our kids to make them the incredible people that they are. I’m not an ungrateful parent. I realize that they don’t always get the recognition they deserve and that they certainly don’t get paid enough (don’t even ask me what I would want to get paid for spending a day with 24 six-year-olds). But, parent volunteers aren’t getting paid either. It’s not our JOB to volunteer. It’s an extra. And just as I surely acknowledge the teacher’s positive contribution to my life and the life of my kiddo…. well… I’d like her to acknowledge mine as well. Maybe with a, “Hey thank you!” or some flexibility when essentially I’m juggling to help her out.

I am so not the classroom volunteer kind of mom. I’m not sure what the hell I was thinking.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. I volunteered when my oldest was in 1st grade- she is in 3rd now. Um. That was the one and only year I did it. Now I’ve sucker myself into volunteering at my youngest class at church on Wed. nights. … you would have thought I learned my lesson, I didn’t.

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