Before I had school-aged children, I held some preconceived notions about what a PTA was all about and who a “PTA mom” was — and it wasn’t flattering. In my mind a PTA was primarily a social club, and the typical “PTA mom” was a cardigan-clad perfectionist whose sole purpose was to mold the school to benefit her and her student. Not shockingly, that version of the “PTA mom” was never the goal for me.
Fast forward 10 years, and let me pause to introduce myself. My name is Julia, and I am the VP of my children’s elementary school PTA. I am far from a perfectionist (just ask my husband!) and I rarely wear cardigans. As it turns out, I was wrong about the “PTA mom” and the PTA as a whole — there’s so much good in both.
If you’re still holding on to PTA falsehoods, read on to learn the truths your PTA wishes you knew.
1. There’s a bigger picture.
When most people hear “PTA,” they immediately think of the programs and activities put on by the PTA at their local school, whether that’s an auction, bake sale, or other fundraiser. But there’s so much more behind the fundraisers. The overall mission of the Texas PTA is “to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.”
When you begin to view your local PTA through the lens of advocating for all of the children in your community, it’s easy to want to be a part of that.
2. Your skills are needed.
PTA parents are NOT all stay-at-home parents who spend their days scrolling Pinterest. A healthy PTA is made up of a diverse group of parents from varying backgrounds with a variety of skills and interests.
Do you dabble in photography? Great, you could help with the yearbook. Are you a natural encourager? The Sunshine Committee or Hospitality Team might be a great fit for you. Love Facebook? The social media team is calling your name. Do you have a work connection that would be able to secure an awesome item for the school auction? That’s needed, too! Whatever your skill or interest, there is a need that matches it on the PTA.
3. Your voice is needed.
If your school’s PTA doesn’t look like the makeup of your student body, there is a problem. It’s difficult to represent all of the children you serve when your PTA is not representative of that student body. Needs and concerns can go unnoticed and unvoiced when the PTA does not truly represent the school. For that to happen, everyone needs to join the PTA, especially if you feel like you might not “fit”. That’s when you’re needed the most.
4. You are needed.
Whether it’s time, talent, money, or encouragement, we all have something to offer our local PTA. I would challenge you to find one new way to be involved in your PTA this year — even if it’s simply joining the PTA for the first time. You won’t regret it.
5. Grace is needed.
Please keep in mind that your PTA is made up of volunteers who serve to help students succeed in their academic careers. Give them grace. (We could all use more of that!) If they make a mistake or a decision you disagree with, try to come alongside them and encourage them, or gently correct them rather than judging or bad-mouthing them to others. Let’s try to build each other up.