Saturday, May 31, 2008

P.T.A. - W.T.F.?

Edited to note that the complete incoherence of this post accurately reflects my confusion in regard to the purpose and/or mission of every PTA/PTO I've been exposed to.

Since the Sprouts entered school, Nigel and I have made efforts to be involved in their education. This was much easier at first than it is now, because the kids had I.E.P.'s due to developmental issues that may or may not have been caused by their prematurity.

Here in Israel, the kids attend a very, very small private school. I found out yesterday that there will be ONE child in the 6th grade class next year - that's how small this school is.

My current level of involvement has been to meet regularly with the kids' teacher, to be present at various school activities, and to volunteer at various school functions. I have never been interested in actually joining a PTA or PTO, and have a visceral distaste for being an officer. In other words, I will do anything they ask me to do and anything I feel will be beneficial to my kids, but I do not have any desire or need to be in a position of power.

When the kids were in preschool, I actually attended several PTO meetings. These meetings rarely had agendas and generally devolved into complaint sessions that, IMO, would have been better handled through regular channels of discussion with teachers and then, if necessary, discussion with the principal. Little of import was discussed and even less of import was actually decided and implemented by this particular PTO.

Twice, in these particular PTO meetings, a call for volunteers was made by the president. Both times, I and others expressed willingness to help. Both times, however, our offers were rebuffed and the president ended up doing everything she had asked us to help with all by herself. Then at future meetings, this president would take up an inordinate amount of time whining about how she never gets any rest and has to do everything herself. After the second whine-session, I quit attending the PTO meetings, but continued to volunteer in the kids' classrooms and to attend school functions.

I am a lazy person, admittedly, but my reasoning for not wanting to participate in PTAs is more of a desire to stay out of unproductive complaint sessions, to avoid ridiculous political maneuvering (I've already been hearing about the various cliques within this tiny school's parent community), and to keep my time my own (and my family's).

At this school, I have worked hard to try to get to know other parents, generally moms, and generally by talking before the gate opens and when waiting for the kids to exit after school. There are several moms I really like and with whom I would not mind spending time. HOWEVER, a couple of these moms are now pressuring me to get more involved with their PTA, even suggesting I run for office.

AUGH! I can only say this: If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve. Does this make me a bad mom? I don't think so. Does it make others think I'm a bad mom? Maybe. Do I care? Not at all.

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