Musings of a PTA President: Misconceptions

It’s cliquey.

All they want is money.

It will consume all my free time.

I was stunned to learn these accusations of the PTA are true.

Or not.

Really it depends who I talk to. And if they’ve had coffee.

Maybe the real problem is one of perception. Perception brought on by (dare I say it?) poor branding and lazy messaging.

Yup, I said it.

I’m not going to bore you with all that bullshit about how rewarding it is, how you are giving back to your children and the community (ok, I might say that ONCE to instill some guilt), and how fun it is. While true, you can read that anywhere.  Let me give you my insider’s perspective.

The PTA is a time sucking incubus that will steal the little free time I have.

Take it from the President (that’s me!) – it’s not like Facebook.  You don’t post a new picture or status at 8pm then realize at midnight you’re still on. Facebook? Now that’s a (quite enjoyable) time sucking entity that can swallow all of your free time.

The PTA, on the other hand, takes up as much or as little time as you want it to. Sure you could be the type of person that says YES to everything (that’s me too. How do you think I got here?). Or the person who hasn’t mastered time management. But really? You can make a difference in many ways that don’t require much – if any — time.

Examples:

Join the PTA. It takes 5 minutes. It gives you access to a ton of perks*.  It gives you a voice in the schools. Maybe you use your voice one time to make a valuable suggestion. Or maybe you can’t shut up. Either way, your contribution matters.

Give a donation. Almost every fundraiser needs a donation. Money. Time. Suggestions. The options are endless.

There are a lot of very small ways to give your time. Volunteer for a committee or event and be specific in how much time you can give and how you want to spend that time. “I have 30 minutes on Tuesday at 11. How can I help?” or “I can help set up [fill in event] for an hour on Saturday”.

Maybe you prefer to just write a check. Which leads to…

Get your hands out of my pockets!

Yes, one of the primary missions of the PTA is to raise money. Hello! It’s money for YOUR CHILD’S school (I warned you I couldn’t avoid that one). Money that is spent on technology in the classroom, enrichment programs, and educational fun field trips.

But it’s not all the PTA does. The PTA gives back to the community. It hosts events with the sole purpose of bringing people together with (shocking!)  no intention of making money.

It’s all women and they only talk to each other.

I can’t say for sure if this is true or not in my PTA. So far I’ve been welcomed with open arms. But as someone who is often shy and a total introvert (yes, it’s TRUE) I can only guess that this cliqueyness is rooted in some social awkwardness that has nothing to do with accepting or not accepting new members.

If your PTA really is filled with a bunch of cliquey, bitchy chicks then they don’t deserve to have you. Find other ways to give back to your schools. But I bet in most cases if you find just one or two people like you then joining the PTA will be fun and rewarding.

If I join will someone call me and ask me to help?

Here’s the thing, if I need help and I know you, I am going to call you whether you are part of the PTA or not. That’s how people operate. They call on the people they know and trust to help.

This year my PTA listed all the events on our membership form so people can choose what they want to help with. If you circled an event, we’ll call or email you to help. If you circled nothing we won’t bother you (unless you are our friend and we need your help).

Convinced yet?

Go join your PTA! If you’re in Georgetown come join OUR PTA.

 

*Perks in our PTA include*:

  • Up to 20% discount at Hertz
  • Up to 20% discount on Sharp products
  • Up to 25% discount at Staples
  • Up to 14% discount at T-Mobile
  • Up to 20% at Red Jacket Resorts
  • Discount on tickets to PTA events

 

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2 thoughts on “Musings of a PTA President: Misconceptions

  1. paul lanyi says:

    Right on Jill, total agreement (except that part about you being an introvert). We go to all our PTA events and think it’s a terrific way to contribute, learn and meet like-minded and not so like-minded parents. Participation!

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