When I took over as PTO President, I found myself focusing a lot on the first letter of the PTO acronym. After all, I am a parent to three students in VFES. It's the primary reason I wanted to be involved in the PTO, I wanted to help be an integral part of a great school. I don't think I can stress enough how important parents are to our school. Without you, a high percentage of our children's fondest memories of Valley Forge Elementary wouldn't be possible. We rely on 75 parents to staff the library! We rely on another 75 to be homeroom parents! And almost 100 of you have answered the call to volunteer for other opportunities over these last weeks, and we still have open positions, if you are interested. It's been amazing to see how fortunate our children are to have such an active parent community.
That said, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the T in PTO, our fantastic teachers. Many of you had the opportunity to meet them these last few weeks at Back to School nights. You learned a bit about them, and probably secretly hoped you wouldn't have to chat with them until November conferences (or am I projecting?)
Here are a few teacher facts you may not know. The average teacher spends over $500 of their own money on supplies for their classroom. The PTO offsets a small amount of their cost through PTO funds, but most of the teachers I know have never complained about the cost, accepting the reality instead. Also, their day doesn't end at 3:20. I can't count the number of times I have received an email after 6pm. I also know of a certain principal who was Facetiming with her kids after dismissal and before the start of Curriculum Night to help them with homework. Their families miss them too.
And summers off? I was in the school A LOT during the summer. Not only did I see teachers in there prepping their rooms, they were getting their lesson plans ready for the school year. And if they need a few weeks to recharge after spending all year with my children, far be it from me to complain. Heck, I feel I should probably contribute to their vacation fund.
My children's teachers have comforted them on their very first day of school, eased their anxieties over fire drills and lock down drills, helped them when they have gotten hurt or have felt ill. Essentially, they have stepped in during the day when I can't.
I am not writing this to try to score bonus points with my kids' teachers. Rather, in first grade, I wrote I wanted to be a teacher. Or a nun. I didn't have the patience for either, but I have always been impressed with the individuals who actively seek to shape young minds, and our school has some of the state's best. Together, we are a formidable organization whose sole purpose is the best school environment around.
Our children couldn't get much luckier. And as a parent, I am grateful for that.