When a storm hits and your field trip gets postponed hours, maybe minutes before take-off who are you going to call? Your room parent! A room parent is a great resource to help you bridge the communication gap between everyone in your educational life.
What is room parent?
Some of you may be asking what is a room parent and why do I need one? A room parent is a designated parent or guardian who will help you communicate last minute information, classroom needs, etc. A room parent can also help with communication between yourself and a parent organization like the PTA, PTO, and administration.
Why do you need one?
While you may not “need” a room parent, you will be so glad if you get one. A room helper takes pressure off of you which allows you to reorganize any last minute events, focus on setting up activities, etc. By allocating this responsibility to a parent, you are in essence taking something off of your plate which helps create a healthy teacher.
How do you choose one?
One of the more difficult parts of having a room parent is deciding who you should choose to be a room parent. There are several different aspects you might want to consider when selecting your room helper.
Tip 1: Look for Volunteers
One of the best ways to start your search for a room helper is to ask for volunteers. When you ask for volunteers, you can make a small application that simply asks the person for their contact information but includes what you expect out of your room parent. You may expect your room helper to:
- Attend meetings
- Help with planning field trips
- Assist in big classroom activity days
- Take notes about classroom needs and categorize them into PTO news or administration news
These are all important jobs for your potential room parent to think about before they volunteer their services. You can always decide what you need from a room helper and put these “duties” in detail on your “application” to make sure you are getting the right applicants.
Tip 2: Choose a Mindful Candidate
If you start by looking for volunteers, you are going to want to have a little “interview” process. One thing you want to look for is someone who is mindful. What does it mean to be mindful room parent? A mindful room helper is someone who is aware of what is going on and can communicate with people while keeping a level head.
A room helper might not always have to defuse a potential bomb; it can happen especially when people tend to get stressed out. Therefore, having someone who is mindful and can stay calm, cool, and collected is a great idea.
Tip 3: Reliable Communication
Being calm is important but being reliable is also vital to the success of your relationship with your room parent. Having a room helper who is not reliable basically means you are back to it just being you but add in a little chaos due to miscommunication. Your room helper needs to be someone who is there consistently and communicates with you.
It’s important to note here that your room helper doesn’t need to be at every single function. We all have life things that pop up, but as long as your room parent communicates this with you and other needed parties, everything will be fine. If you have few volunteers who can be at a majority of meetings, you might want to make the room helper position a two-person volunteer job.
Tip 4: Positive Relationship
You are putting a lot of trust into your potential room parent. Making sure you have and keep a good relationship with your room helper is important to the success of this job title. If you do not have a good relationship with your room parent, he/she might say something or misconstrue something you have said because of their own personal feelings. You do not have to be best friend, but you should have a positive, professional relationship with any room helper you might have.
Bridging the communication gap between yourself, other parents, guardians, administration, etc. can make your life so much simpler. Finding someone who can help ease your mind while being reliable, mindful, and positive will help you focus on your job: the students. Bring yourself some peace of mind and find the perfect room helper to take a little piece off of your overflowing plate this school year.