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PTO Survival Guide

by Ronald A. Rowe | February 22nd, 2010 | Elementary

One of the challenges that we, the parents, must face at some point in our journey is the PTO meeting. I’m not a big proponent of homeschooling, but I give it some thought twice a year at the Parent Teacher Organization meetings. As a helpful service to those who have yet to venture into the realm of the PTO, here are some tricks and tools to help you survive relatively unscathed.

#1 – Decide how involved you want to be. Most of us have jobs. Many have more than one child to keep track of. You may have commitments at your church or civic organization. There are only a handful of parents who are going to make PTO their main thing. If you’re one of them, go for it. If not, back off and let the diehards run the show.

#2 – Pick your battles. Some things are worth fighting for, some aren’t. If the PTO elite want to do a rainbows and unicorns float in the local parade, remember rule #1. If you aren’t willing or able to step up and be one of the chief architects, then sit back and go with the flow.

#3 – Do your homework before the meeting. The PTO meetings are not meant for discussion. This is where the PTO brain trust lets you in on their plans for the future of the school and offers you a chance to get on board with specific projects. Don’t think that this is the time or place to ask a lot of detailed questions or to try to change the collective mind of the board.

#4 – Remember that this is all about the children. Your preferences don’t matter. Your ego doesn’t matter. You had your chance to have your say back at point #1. It isn’t too late, if you want to go all in and join the board, do so right after the meeting. At any point in time, there is some overcommitted parent who wants nothing more than to give you some of their responsibilities.

So that’s it. The PTO meetings aren’t fun, but they’re only a couple of times a year. You can do it.

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