A Public Service Announcement From Your PTA President.
This is an all call for anyone out there who is seeking notoriety in an unfortunate way. Yes, the role of PTA president can be yours with one simple phone call. I’ve been waiting all year for the call to relieve me of my derelict duty and alas, it has not arrived.
In case you are annoyed at me or my slothful ways, I must remind you of rule number one. I do not receive a salary, health insurance, my choice of teacher, not even a t-shirt for my volunteerism. Last year I did receive a faux Tervis tumbler and I use it with pride.
Rule number two states that you are never ever allowed to scold people in purely volunteer positions. The lovely ones that have offered to give their time and have their energy sucked dry from the likes of you, are strictly off-limits. A position that lacks a 401-k should be lauded but instead brings responsibility and stress from those it designates to serve. I have been guilty too; it was not long ago (maybe last week unfortunately) that I was ranting about matters of our church in which I am not a member of the governing board. I myself remembered too late about the “keeping my mouth shut” rule and annoyed several people though they were too kind to say so.
And that is rule number three: Yes, unless you want to pitch in then not one word of criticism, a friendly suggestion, unsolicited advice, complaint, or passive aggressive question. Not one word. Perhaps there are some mothers out there, fathers even, that aspire to be “boss of the school” as my younger son once called our past president, but it is not me. My rule of thumb these days is to never ever complain unless I want to be the one to step in and fix it. And so, if you have any advice, I am fairly reasonable and will part the Red Sea so that you may make a go of it.
My interest was peaked recently as I was sifting through some research relating to education (ok, People Magazine) and I stumbled upon the PTA president that some parents had demanded be fired. Now this is a school that beckons my volunteerism, thanks but absolutely no thanks. I am sent on my way, guilt free, and attracting pity. This mother was helping with afternoon dismissal and when an annoyed mother questioner her about the son that had not yet arrived, the PTA President said he had been “slow”.
That word struck a nerve in the child’s mother and her demand for dismissal was refused by the principal. A restraining order request was denied, a civil lawsuit was dismissed, and the innocent president carried on her thankless work. Meanwhile the parents of that child, both attorneys I may add, were simmering in their annoyance, the perceived slight had grown by leaps and bounds and so revenge was sought. Not by the president or principal, but the uninvolved mother and father.
Yes, one day as the kind President was filing papers, a police officer came in and asked her to come with him. Someone had phoned in anonymously to report her erratic driving. They walked to her car and the drugs were scattered in the backseat and she began to cry. The sobriety test was passed after having been given in front of the hundreds of peering eyes who could see out their classroom windows, her own two children included. I have to say while this is horrifying, I am filled with suppressed laughter. I imagine myself with our local sheriff and get immensely tickled.
The phone call was traced to, guess who? The parents, attorneys, now divorced and expected to pay the PTA president 5 million dollars in damages. I may be shallow but find that a worthwhile trade and so I will volunteer next year too and always welcome the feedback that is attached to labor.