One of the reasons I’m so overwhelmed right now (and writing posts like yesterday’s) is because the whole president of the PTA thing is totally kicking my ass. So not only is everything new at work, where the constant room-changing creates an air of daily chaos and stress that carries into the rest of my life, but I’m constantly thinking about, planning, responding to emails, discussing, and stressing about PTA and PTA events.
I knew the position was going to be hard, but I had no idea how hard (I also didn’t anticipate just how bad the work situation would be this year–it’s so much worse than I feared–and that is definitely exacerbating the PTA issues). One problem is that the most important person on my team–the woman who has been on the board the longest, and who was technically our fundraising chair–left on the third day of the school year when her daughter finally got the transfer they had been requesting since last January. She has been amazing about helping me with the big fall projects that I’m totally clueless on, but after October she will officially faze out. I’m so fortunate that the other woman who has been on the board for a long time is still helping me a ton, even though she technically termed out as Secretary and now is officially in a very low-key role. The new Secretary is totally game to help, she just doesn’t know what she’s doing (totally understandable as this is her first year and the whole operation is mostly a shit-show). The Treasurer seems very checked out, and I don’t know if it’s because she’s moved to a short-term rental while trying to sell her house (so stressful, I know) or if she’s just burnt out on PTA and the school in general, especially since she doesn’t know where she’ll be living next year, which might mean her kids won’t even be at the school anymore. The VP is doing exactly what I expected she would do, which is absolutely nothing, and that should be fine because I didn’t expect to have a VP at all, and I wouldn’t have had one (it’s not like she took the position from someone who would be doing more–no one else wanted the position), but it still bothers me, probably because I did so much last year as VP, and could really use more help this year as president.
Anyway, all that to say, I have two (and a half?) people who are helping me with a shit ton of stuff, and fall is a very busy time of year, and there is just a ton going on. Also, I will admit that it’s depressing to be the president of the PTA at a school where no one cares about being on the PTA or helping in any of the causes (okay, some people care but it’s a VERY small percentage). Which brings me to why I’m writing this post…
If we get to the end of this year and all we did was barely manage to maintain the status quo, which is not accomplishing a lot, I will not only be totally and completely depleted, but also incredibly disappointed. While current interest in the PTA (and school community) is depressing (to me at least), there is opportunity for building a base of active parents, because all the shit that went down last year has lit something of a fire under the asses of some parents, they just aren’t quite sure what to do with that renewed interest in participating. I really do think that if we approached the situation in new and productive ways, we could make a positive change that might carry forward at the school. I also know that I have NO IDEA how to go about rallying the parents at a school with a primarily socioeconomically disadvantaged student population.
If anyone out there has any resources that might help me with this, I’d so appreciate you sending them along. I will reach out to the state PTA, but when I have in the past, they haven’t had much of value to share with me. Frankly, it’s been disappointing.
I guess what I’m looking for are books or articles or blogs/sites that talk about community building and (sadly I have to care about this, as it’s technically PTA’s main purpose) fundraising, specifically in lower-socioeconomic communities. We also have a language barrier issue to overcome as about half of the families either don’t speak English at all, or don’t feel comfortable communicating in English. Even some good resources on grassroots movements could help. I honestly don’t know, I just have no idea what I’m doing, and I want to be more proactive in my attempts to make some real and lasting change, no matter how small.