Friday, September 28, 2007

Inside the PTO Secret Society

Now that I officially have school age children, I finally got to attend a PTO meeting. Of course, this is no big deal to most parents, but ever since a faux pas I made in grade school, I've always wondered what it was all about. My mom is an accomplished professor and researcher and I had always assumed that her work was more important than anything else. So when my teacher in 1st or 2nd grade asked the students to let their parents know that there was a PTA (it was "association" as opposed to "organization" back then) meeting, I responded, "My mom is too busy for that" and never told her about it. Of course she was furious to hear what I had said and to this day I am reminded about the incident. So it was finally my turn to attend a PTO meeting. Luckily an information sheet went home with the kids as teachers have learned not to trust them to bring home information verbally (maybe I had a sheet which I threw out?). I was not very pleased with the meeting schedule as it alternated between evenings, mornings and afternoons, smack in the middle of work hours. I asked Doug if he wanted to join instead and he declined. Apparently he knows the unwritten rule that "parent" in PTO means mom and not dads. What's with that? It turns out that they have different times to accommodate different parent (mom) schedules and that you don't have to attend every meeting. During the meeting, I learned a lot about how to cut out BoxTops4Education labels and tape them to the sheets (no staples please!). I did learn that our school actually receives over a thousand dollars from these organizations, which is quite impressive. I also learned that 50% of the money raised from the "crappy knick-knacks" fund raiser goes to the school. I am one of those parents who simply buy a few items myself (mostly gifts for the holidays and some chocolates for the family) and send it along. My days as shameless promoter to my co-workers are done! So for me, the PTO meeting was a lesson in economics more than anything else. Adam also expressed interest in joining the Cub Scouts so I insisted that it should be a dad activity. But they have gender equality as many moms bring their sons to meetings. Of course he is completely oversubscribed in activities, soccer, hockey and now cub scouts, but he is loving it all. This post has been entered in the Super Fundraiser "Back to School" writing contest.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Great post! I'll email you info on the voting next week. Good luck!