Monday, September 24, 2012

What PTA taught me by Day Four...

You guys, I surrender. There are certain cliché's that exist because they HAVE to, and as much as I try to be my own person and walk my own path (decorating it with tin foil and glitter glue) it's important to visit other paths that have been trod a million times for a reason.

Try to scrape your jaws off the ground, especially those of you that ever read THIS POST, and wrap your head around this: I am the PTA Treasurer. Don’t blame me, I told them I only have two credits from Snow College for dance and band, and also that I handle our home money by stuffing it in envelopes and locking it up in the safe or hiding it various locations around the house. That doesn't sound as bad when you know it's the Dave Ramsey Cash Envelope System, but let's be honest, if an underwear thief breaks into my house he will be totally annoyed at the stash of wadded up dollar bills in my sock drawer and what 3 year old Alice calls my “big panties.”

(did I say thief? I meant "snack" for our three ferocious pit bulls. come on over! they just love having midnight intruders for dinner)

So last year when I met with our principle, Dr. Norman, to talk about private education vs. public education I somehow left her office with a new devotion to public schooling and a meeting with the person whose existence filled me with dread and foreboding: the PTA President.

Turns out she IS a rather wicked woman, but mostly in the "haha" borderline inappropriate remarks she makes about you right to your face, and the false sense of security she can give you about the "little" job she is asking you to take on. All of this makes me like her more than I care to admit.

3 months later I've been tinkering with the whole Treasurer position all summer, but it's only sunk its teeth in recently... and it's cool! I'm not sure how it feels about me, but I'm glad for the opportunity, and as the title of this blog post suggests, four days into the school year I already felt like whatever time I put into this is well spent.

What you don't know can't hurt you, right? Well, what you don't know can't HELP you either.  After practically living at the school volunteering in various ways during the big push of the first few days, I found myself in the thick of it at our first official PTA meeting last week. It's like all the information I've been gathering for weeks has finally come together and I feel as though I finally understand how big (and small) our school really is.

I am going to be honest with you now; when I walked into Russell's class on the first day of school and saw 33 first graders I couldn't help but gasp. As the days went on and I began helping out a little, I found myself wondering about our friends from last year who switched to private schools for first grade and how many kids were in their classes.

After that PTA meeting, whatever doubts I had seem to have left the building. Russell's teacher has been great, the other room mom is my rad co captain from last year, we've been informed that if the 1st grade numbers hold like this we will be getting another teacher on campus, and can I please tell you about the kind of women on this PTA board? Overachieving type A personalities that use their powers for good instead of evil! We may all have different reasons for delaying our ability to slip into pants with elastic waistbands on a Tuesday night, but at that meeting? These people care deeply about the success of this school for their own families and the good of the whole, and therefore of my family and of my children.

Dr. Norman takes such patient time to explain things that she must talk about day in and day out, about testing scores and the Title One funding that comes into our school based on the amount of students that get free or discounted lunch. How those numbers have made it possible for every child between 3rd and 6th grade to have their own iPod or iPad for the school year. I know its remarkable what some educators have been able to accomplish in overall academic achievement using those tools, and we already have good teachers so I'm exited to see the two come together.

It's for information like that, or sharing the excitement of providing the school new playground equipment with fundraising dollars, or coordinating volunteers for Jog-A-Thon or the Nutcracker that makes the PTA board WANT you to come to the meetings, they want to know who you are, they want to know who your child is, they want to know if you'll bring cups to movie night.

And maybe popcorn?

And then maybe stand there all night and sell the popcorn in the cups and give them the money.

Because they've all done that! Because that's how they know each other, each others kids, each others NAMES. Oh the names... I suppose the time has come for me to know peoples names like I really mean it...

Alright, I'm climbing off my bedazzled soap box now, but people? Do yourself a favor and go to the next PTA meeting at your school. If for nothing else, go for the undercurrent of female drama with the punctuated rare male opinion. I would be lying if I didn't admit I was a little curious to see if any of these Real, REAL! housewives of Orange County were smuggling booze in their purses or sleeping with each others husbands. They've all been very disappointing on that front, but I find myself liking them anyway.


Sharron said...

I love it, and you always did underestimate your skills when you put your mind to something!I am very proud of you, everything that you choose to throw yourself into is always better because of it, lucky school!

Alissa Rae King said...

Haha, thanks MOM :)