Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Is A Room Mom???

With this site, I have realized that one thing I have failed to do, is to mention what exactly a room mom/parent is and what their responsibilities are. Oops. I guess I have just assumed everyone knew so I never broke it down, but here is goes. For everyone it might be different, but here is my definition...
A room parent is a parent of a student in the class who helps out the teacher. Each teacher might have a different idea of what they want done or what they need help with, but generally I have found that the room parents' main task is to help with holiday parties.
Generally, teachers have helpers for other areas of help. (ie: reading helpers, field trips, take home projects, etc.) This could be the room mom's responsibility to find those helpers, but at the schools I have been at it has been up to the PTA to help out with this assignment.
When I was the room mom for my son's class, I planned a Halloween and a Valentine's party because that is what the teacher wanted. She had other thoughts for Christmas, so I didn't have to worry about it but other teachers may want to hold a Christmas party/activity.
When I was a teacher, the PTA held a room parent luncheon at the first of the school year. This is where the teachers and room parents could get together and talk about ideas, parties, etc. for the year. It was very helpful!! I asked my room moms plan a Halloween and Valentine's party only. I told them that I had ideas in case they wanted to use any, otherwise they could come up with their own. For Christmas I always did The 12 Days of Christmas (idea to come) so I used several parents at that time and not just for one party.

Has anyone ever been a room parent before and have anything to add? How has your school handled room parents? Feel free to share any thought or ideas that could benefit others! Thanks!


CathyBB said...

Hi there! I've enjoyed your site very much but I just had to say this post made me giggle - I can't tell you how many times I get that question, too! I get it from friends, family, and parents at school. I had the same reaction too - doesn't EVERYONE know? =)

At our school, we are really relaxed about the "room mom" definition, but in short, the room parents help with the three classroom parties - Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. We have anywhere from one to five room parents per class and I'm sure we'd accept six if it happened! We never turn anyone away if they want to help! The room parents can also be the ones teachers call on to coordinate volunteers for field trips, or other celebrations. For example, the seventh-grade room parents coordinate the graduation party for the eighth-graders' families, the first-graders have an end-of-the year picnic in the park, etc.

Some schools in my area have parents sign up for just one party at a time, which I think is a neat idea. There's probably less consistency, but some people can only commit to one event, and some parents who have more than one child want to help in all their kids' classrooms. I foolishly signed up for all three of my kids' rooms this year, so I do a lot of running back and forth during the parties! I can't help it, though - the kids are so fun! =) I'd love to hear others' ideas!

Room Mom 101 said...

Thanks Cathy for the comment. I didn't know that some schools call several parents to serve as room parents. I like the idea of assigning out the holidays so that one parent doesn't get stuck doing it all!

Lara said...

i've been a room mom for two years now and wanted to add that i gather the parents email and serve as the 'mouthpiece' for classroom events. by compiling this list, i can learn the parents and kid's names lickety split - which pays off come party time! (Randy, please sit down!)
i also coordinate a end of year thank you gift for our teacher (or at least remind parents to do so!). being hospitality in the PTA helps A LOT because i'm always at the school and the kids and teachers know me.

Margaret1101 said...

A great tool for a room mom is It makes coordinating parent volunteers and class parties easy and it is free. I love it. No more reply all emails or clipboard signups.

Anonymous said...

Our PTA provides fundinng for 2 parties each year that the room parent coordinates and facilitates. Does anyone else have this luxury? If so, how is the money disbursed to you? In the past, we have written a check to the head room mom and they have budgeted, etc. Not sure we want to continue with this, but need ideas. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

For some reason my youngest son has the same kid in his class every year and his mom just always happens to be the room mom, idk if she finds out who her kids teacher is and immediately runs straight to the school as soon as the teacher get there to do her room or if she has an "in" with someone. But I am so sick of her. She does everything last minute and then complains that she has a job. And of course any crap job there is she dang sure doesn't do it. And volunteers other moms for time consuming projects. How do you deal with women like this??