Sunday, August 30, 2015

"How May I Help You?" Get the Classroom Volunteers You Want When You Need Them

At the beginning of each school year teachers are often overwhelmed with the logistics of a new crop of students - setting up the classroom, organizing materials, designing lessons, identifying the needs of each child in their care, and for me, remembering their names! (took me several weeks to get them all).

Inevitably during this same crazy time volunteer requests come from several directions. The PTA sends out a needs request to teachers, the administration also asks what we need volunteers for, and then parents face us during Open House (often within the first week or so of school) asking us when they can volunteer. Sometimes they even "tell" us where and when they want to volunteer.

I don't even remember my students' names by week 2, let alone have any idea of what my volunteer needs are for the school year!

In the spirit of crowd sourcing, there's a new way to get the classroom volunteers you want when you need them.

Volunteer Spot is a free online app that teachers can use to take control of calls for volunteers, invitations to conferences, open house, and other school-related events.

You can streamline your volunteer scheduling by first having parents give you their email addresses and then when you have a need, you can let them know using Volunteer Spot and the app takes care of the rest. And since parent involvement and collaboration is often part of how teachers are evaluated, you can maintain a database of all volunteer opportunities using this app as evidence for your evaluation.

You can also include the link to Volunteer Spot on your teacher website or as a QR code on your paper and electronic correspondence. Take control of volunteers in your classroom this year!

Happy teaching.