Parent or community helpers can be a great asset to a teacher and her classroom by taking away some of the burden of the busy work that needs to be done. In order to fully utilize the helpers when they come in to assist, it is important to have specific jobs or tasks already prepared. Not only does pre-planning help alleviate some of the stress for the teacher, but it also alleviates any anxiety that helpers may have about being in the classroom.
The 12 Classroom Volunteer Tasks that follow are a great way to organize the volunteers’ time, so that they can offer the most help.
Ways Classroom Volunteers Can Help
1. Dr. Book – Create a “book hospital” where damaged classroom library books can be ready and waiting for a parent volunteer. A roll of clear packaging tape, scissors, and a roll of Scotch tape are all of the tools the volunteer will need to fix those books right up.
2. King or Queen Copier – Copying can be one of the most tedious tasks for any teacher. Create a separate basket where you place your “To Be Copied” originals that have a small sticky note attached with the number of copies needed. Volunteers can then take the entire basket to the copy room and have your papers done in no time.
3. Lovely Laminators – If volunteers are allowed to laminate at your school, have a basket of materials that need to be laminated at the ready. Since laminating paper is always at a premium, you may want to train the volunteer on how to arrange items to get the maximum number covered using the smallest amount of film. If helpers are not allowed to use the school laminator, but you have a small one of your own, consider letting them use that one.
4. Careful Cutters – Along with copying, cutting out the materials that need to be laminated (or were just laminated!) is a long, tedious task. Volunteers often do not mind cutting out materials for you, so encourage them to help. If a volunteer cannot come into the classroom to help out, slip some of the materials that need to be cut out into a “Helper Bag” and send it home with the student.
5. Book Order Buddies – Book orders are great! Not only do they encourage your students to read, but book sales really help build up the classroom library when points are redeemed. Keep the latest book order book of fliers in a book bag and ask volunteers at home to help separate them. If you have a note that you attach to the fliers, ask them to attach that too.
6. Class Photographer – Do you have a parent or two who are budding photographers? Ask them to help you record the special moments of class time and events on a digital camera. At the end of the school year, these volunteers could then be asked to create a digital slideshow of the year in pictures.
7. Math Marvel – What is this volunteer’s super power? Keeping students excitement about math by playing games that reinforce basic math skills. Parents who are outgoing and enjoy being in the thick of class activities will usually appreciate the opportunity to work directly with a small group.
8. Super Science Assistants – Science experiments (especially those done by a guest volunteer in a white lab coat!) are always attention-getters in the classroom. Ask your science-loving volunteers if they would like to be your Super Science Assistants and help out when you have science experiments planned in the classroom.
9. Guest Readers – Not every volunteer can commit to coming in to help each week, but many want to be involved at least once during the school year. Ask for volunteers during Parent-Teacher Night to read-aloud to a small group during reading centers. This gives you a chance to work with your small group, but also keeps the other students engaged.
10. Pencil Princess/Prince – Sharpened pencils are one of the most wonderful tools of the trade. Dull and broken ones? Those leave a lot to be desired. Ask your volunteer to become the Pencil Princess or Prince and sharpen all of the pencils for you. This may not be the most exciting job, but it is certainly one that is needed!
11. Class Caterer – Organizing who gets to bring what during class parties and celebrations can be a nightmare on top of everything else that a teacher has to do. Ask your wonderful parent volunteers to help with this task by setting up the snack menu for the month and planning parties.
12. Homework Helper – Sending home packets of homework each week can be a great way to ensure that students practice at home, but they can often be a challenge to get out on time. Have a volunteer put together the packets and stuff the Take Home Folders with them once a week. This will be a huge time saver! *Hint: Have the Queen Copier make the copies for the homework folders in advance so that they are ready to go for the Homework Helper.
What are some of your favorite jobs for volunteers? Share your ideas with us below!