When I agreed to be the PTA President last year, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had no idea how much unpaid work goes into running a school.
I'd heard all the stereotypes. I've read all the derogatory blog posts on school volunteers - like this one called Volunteer Vampires.
(All I can think of when I read stuff like that is what a luxury they have to have so many helpers to be able to complain about one of them!)
Our school has a 66% free/reduced lunch population. That means that over 2/3rds of the school is on some kind of assistance. There is a heck of a lot of volunteer work to do.
Most of the work is decidedly unglamorous. It takes a lot of time. There's not much glory. There is absolutely no pay.
Last week, I was sitting in the teacher's lounge with Daughter D. She was helping me count out bunches of xeroxed flyers to put in each classroom mailbox. I was grumbling a bit. It takes freaking forever to count those darn things out and there are paper cuts galore and I got a Masters Degree for THIS? Collating?
But she looked up at me with her big beautiful brown eyes and said, "Mama, it's so much fun to help you with your work at my school" and went back to dutifully counting her papers.
Her words were like a time machine stick. I was instantly transported back to 1976 and I was sitting with *my* mother at one of those awful mimeograph machines and we were making worksheets for the Spanish lessons she was running for my school's PTA. For a minute, I swear I could smell the black dust of the mimeograph.
School volunteering may create "vampires"; It may give a new definition to the word "tedious"; It may be the worst paying job with the longest hours (other than parenthood, itself, of course.)
But evidently, it is genetic. Sorry Daughter D. In 30 years when you are stuck making copies for the PTA with your eldest daughter in a poorly ventilated teacher's lounge, you'll know who to blame.
(Your grandmother...of course!)