Saturday, June 8, 2013

Why I Volunteer in the Schools

The task of getting 87 fifth graders to their 4-day/3-night outdoor education camp and back is done. It's been a yearlong process for a few of us, raising money to offset the cost, making sure all the parents know what it's all about, coordinating the minutiae, and so on. To say I'm relieved it's all done is an understatement.

The whole experience underscores for me the fundamental problem I have with many teachers. I volunteer for the benefit of my kid, first and foremost, and the benefit of the other kids secondarily. I do not volunteer for the teachers.

That last point is worth repeating: I do NOT volunteer for the teachers. I do not corral and nudge and berate and spoon feed 87 families for you, dear teachers. I am not there at 7:30 in the morning to make sure the kids dump their belongings into three distinct piles -- one for each classroom -- so three distinct piles can be made upon arrival at the camp for you, dear teachers. I do not answer the most lame questions from oblivious parents for you, dear teachers. The parents riding the buses with the kids so the teachers can drive separately are not riding the buses for you, dear teachers.

So when you don't let the mother ride on the same bus with her daughter because of your rigid, stick-up-your-ass bus assignments, you're forgetting a simple fact: we aren't doing this for you. And when you berate the mother and the woman who intervenes (ahem) and another teacher with your fucked-up sense of control, you just reinforce our collective belief in two things: you truly are an asshole and you really don't know why we help.

It was never about you.

It was often in spite of you.

It was and always has been about my kid and her kid and that kid over there.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

Wow. The ideal: when helping the teachers and the students could be accomplished by the same behavior, no?

When the needs of the students and teachers were in synch. As they ought to be.

Patois42 said...

Sarah, that is totally the ideal. And I have had experiences with quite a few teachers where that is the case. I do believe the ones who see me (and other parents) as free labor to do their bidding are outnumbered by the good ones. Maybe it's a case of the bad few leaving such an awful taste in my mouth.

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