Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 10:45 pm | Fair 50º


She Said, Z Said: The Secret to School Volunteering Is Elementary, My Dear

Savvy parents learn along with their children from grade to grade

She: Fifth grade is over. Only one more year, and then we’ll be done with elementary school.

Z: You mean one more year, and then Koss will be done with elementary school.

She: No. Of course, he’ll be done, but I definitely mean “we.”

Z: I know you spend a lot of time at school, but I don’t think you get to walk at graduation next year.

She: Maybe not, but I’ll be graduating nonetheless.

Z: I’m pretty sure this particular extra degree won’t give you a salary bump.

She: I have a theory about elementary school attendance. I’m thinking about writing a book.

Z: I don’t think a book about this theory will bump up your salary, either.

She: I’ve put a lot of thought into this theory. I’ve been honing it over the past six years of manning bake sale booths, collating beginning-of-the-school-year parent packets and spacing out during fundraising meetings.

Z: You couldn’t have maybe developed a theory on how to power a car with water? Or how to get a salary bump?

She: This is much more interesting. My theory is that parents go through elementary school just like their kids do. When the kids are in kindergarten, the parents are also new and excited, but maybe a little nervous to jump into things.

Z: I don’t remember seeing a lot of parents hiding under desks or slamming their tricycles into the swing set.

She: Which isn’t to say that they didn’t want to.

Z: I liked kindergarten. I always felt like a giant when I sat in those tiny chairs.

She: Then in first grade, they’re used to the newness of school, and very excited about everything. First grade parents will volunteer for anything.

Z: I get it now. So that’s how you get your PTA presidents. They sucker parents of first-graders who still think that everything is shiny and new.

She: Exactly. They are so optimistic that if they just paint the right poster or write a great e-mail, school spirits will start flying high.

Z: Clearly, they’re not drinking enough at the school fundraisers.

She: Even in second grade, they still believe that anything is possible. They just don’t realize that for many people this is the third or even fourth time they’ve been through second grade. You can only sit through so many biography nights and food reports before they get a little, uh, stale.

Z: Not if you bring cocktails.

She: It takes a while to realize that as kids — and parents — get into fourth grade, they start to become a little jaded. Sure, they’ll still show up to Spring Sing and Back to School Night. And, yeah, they’ll still buy stuff at the auctions. But after a while that bargain-priced case of wine looks a lot more appealing than that adorable thumb-printed ceramic tray with the names of every kid in the class that you once would have given a week’s salary to have “won.”

Z: I’m pretty sure we learned about the case of wine before fourth grade. We must have been precocious. Veritable child geniuses, you and I.

She: Even your very own parking space with your very own name on it loses its luster by fifth grade.

Z: Good God, woman, not that! Your really are sounding jaded.

She: Or not. Maybe I’ve just got a case of fifth-gradeitis.

Z: I just did the math, and this would be your 36th year in fifth grade. I hope you pass this time.

She: I’ll probably be bright eyed and bushy tailed again by the time we get to La Colina. I know they say that parents in junior high have hardly any involvement but that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t make a difference. I bet there are plenty of great opportunities to get involved. We just need to do a great job of communicating. Make people realize that they’re really part of what’s happening and that they can make things better than they’ve ever been.

Z: You’re sounding bright-eyed and bushy-tailed all over again.

She: Must be the margaritas.

Z: Yes, dear.

— Share your thoughts on the elementary school cycle of life by e-mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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