Parent Teacher Organization, or PTO, is a group of parent volunteers at a school.
I am a proud member of my daughters’ elementary school’s PTO. I love giving back to our school, our teachers, and our students. Our family was re-zoned this year. I was involved in our previous school’s PTO, so it was a no brainer to join the PTO at our new school. As we were preparing for our new school I was “warned” about PTO. I had been “warned” at our previous school too. I had heard ::
- PTO is cliquey.
- PTO is nothing but busy body type mamas.
- PTO is too time consuming.
- PTO is stupid.
- PTO is expensive.
- PTO is only for the really rich families.
- PTO is gossipy.
- PTO is for stay at home moms who are bored.
After two schools and now three years, I can tell you PTO should NOT come with a warning. It should come with a welcome. I LOVE being on PTO. Yes, I’m a stay at home mom, but our school’s chapter is filled with working moms too!
Our PTO is filled with numerous positions that require minimal but meaningful time. Our PTO does have positions that require more volunteer hours than some can give, but that’s true with anything in life. Not all careers are the same and not all volunteer opportunities will be the same. Our PTO is comprised of working and stay home moms who enjoy volunteering and more importantly enjoy volunteering for their neighborhood school.
Our PTO is not cliquey. Are we a group? Yes. Do we know each other well? Yes. Are you welcome at any point to join our group? Definitely.
People love to poke fun at PTO moms. They call us yoga pant wearing ladies who lunch. Let me tell you something, we are not that. Not in the least.
We are the moms who make sure every child has a spirit shirt. We are the moms who laminate and make copies for your teachers so they can spend more time teaching. We are the moms volunteering for lunch duty so your teacher can conference with you. We are the moms shelving the library books and looking how to improve the playground. We are the moms planning the holiday parties and Valentine’s Day parties that your child loves. We are the moms at the school at 5 in the morning to ensure the fun run and school carnival go off without a hitch. We are the moms who happily and graciously help make your school awesome.
It’s okay if you don’t want to volunteer at your child’s school, but don’t diminish what we do. Volunteers at hospitals, foundations, and schools are all the same. Volunteers are people giving their time because they want to- not have to.
Just because I choose to volunteer for PTO doesn’t make my volunteer time less than. This organization is important to me, my children, my school, and my community. If becoming a part of your child’s school’s PTO isn’t your thing, all I ask is you respect the people who make it their thing.
To my fellow PTO moms, thank you! I appreciate you! Keep up the great work. Your school and students need you.