Before working with children you will need to have a TB test on file in the office. TB tests are good for 4 years, so if you have one please bring the negative result to the office. If you don’t have one, please get a test done and bring the result in. A convenient, cost-effective local place to get a TB test is the Malibu Urgent Care on PCH.
You should have your photo taken on picture day for a volunteer ID badge. This badge should be worn during the times you are volunteering.
There is a Volunteer Log on the counter in the front office. Please sign in when you arrive and when you leave, and record the time that you spent volunteering. The PTA keeps track of hours volunteered.
Working in the Classroom
BE PROMPT AND DEPENDABLE: The teachers count on you, and appreciate your promptness and reliability. If you know in advance that you will not be able to make it during your designated volunteer time, make arrangements to have another parent cover for you. If it's at the last minute and you can’t arrange coverage, leave a voicemail for the teacher so she can make necessary accommodations in her lesson plan.
BE FLEXIBLE: Be willing to do what the teacher asks of you. There may be times that you will not directly work with the children, but instead the teacher needs you to staple papers for an hour. Sometimes, a job that seems tedious to you is a big timesaver for the teacher and allows her to get more effective teaching time in. Please be open and flexible about whatever the teacher asks you to do.
BE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THE TEACHER NEEDS YOU TO DO: If you aren’t sure, feel free to ask for more clarification.
NO CELL INTERRUPTIONS: Turn off your cell phone. It would be inappropriate and disruptive to make or receive phone calls during your classroom volunteer time.
HOLD OFF ON CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER PARENTS: Please do not socialize with other parents in the classroom during your volunteer time. There may be other parents present or volunteering in the classroom during your time; it would be disruptive to the class if the parents socialize or chat during class time.
BE CONFIDENTIAL: Confidentiality is crucial and is the cornerstone of a successful classroom volunteer program. Information about every child is CONFIDENTIAL. All conversations with teachers and staff, test scores, behavior, etc. must remain within the classroom. For example, if you are working with a child on spelling words, and that child is struggling and not doing well, it would be wrong for you to report that later to the child’s parent. Comments about children’s progress (or lack of) and behavior in class should be addressed by the teacher. Please give each child the same respect you would want shown to your child by others.
BE POSITIVE: Make specific, positive comments about the children ("Johnny, you worked really hard on that math problem!"). Catch the child doing something good and then praise it.
OFFER FEEDBACK TO THE TEACHER: If you have a concern about a specific child or feel there is a need for some negative comment or disciplinary action, please tell the teacher and let her decide the appropriate action to take with a child. You may have observed something she did not see, and your feedback is important in helping her do her job.
DRESS APPROPRIATELY: The classroom isn’t the place for skimpy or distracting clothing, or outfits that draw the children’s attention to you rather than to the teacher.
PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR YOUR ARRIVAL: Let your child know that when you are volunteering in the classroom, you are there to help the teacher and the other children in class as well as your child. One way of explaining this is to say, “We have the same job…to do what the teacher tells us to do.”
USE THESE TECHNIQUES WHEN WORKING WITH THE CHILDREN:
- Use a quiet and controlled voice that will encourage and help children feel confident.
- Avoid comparing children and their work.
- State directions in a positive tone.
- Be sure a child understands what you are saying.
- Reward good behavior with a smile or compliment.
- In small groups, offer each child a chance to participate; quiet children can sometimes be overlooked.
- Try to be consistent in helping all of the children.
- Let children try to do as much as possible without your help; children learn by doing.
- Respect children’s differences and personalities.
- Remember that you are an example of appropriate behavior such as sharing, not talking when the teacher is talking, showing respect, talking quietly and taking turns.
Thank you for volunteering! We are so very grateful to each and every one of you for your generous commitment of time, energy, skill and enthusiasm!