Aaaaah the humble parent-teacher association (PTA). On the face of it, just a casual opportunity for parents and teachers to come together and discuss general school affairs, in reality… the backbone of your child’s future educational happiness. Okay, so that last point was a slight exaggeration (we couldn’t help it!) but PTAs really do play a crucial role in school planning. Through facilitating parental participation in school activities, they offer Mums and Dads a fantastic way to get more involved in their little ones educational life and keep up to date on what and how they’re learning. If you’re looking into joining yours, we definitely recommend you do, however, we also think you should know that you’ll likely meet a host of wonderful and wacky characters! To help prep you, we’ve put together a little character guide of the key players you’ll get to know:-
#1. THE UNWILLING DAD
PTAs are generally made up of Mums, however, in every batch, there’s always one Dad who you’ll find sitting timidly and rather unwillingly in the corner. Most likely having been forced to attend by his other half, this Dad wants to get out of every meeting as quickly as possible and will pretty much agree to anything if it means he can leave early. Occasionally, you’ll hear him grunt if the conversation turns to something that really interests him but generally the only thing that will come out of him is a snore!
OUR TOP TIP: Just let him be. We understand you’ll want to help him get more involved but take it from us, he’s the happiest sleeping in the back. In fact, take note of his nap corner – you might fancy taking it up for yourself one meeting!
#2. THE EXTRA ORGANISED SUPER
The main purpose of PTA meetings is getting stuff done and no Mum realises that more than this one! Determined to ensure every meeting runs as smoothly as possible, this Mum is the first at each meeting and generally arrives with an agenda and personalised to-do list for every member. She’ll head up the planning for most of the events and will make sure you make every cookie you promised for that bake sale. Whilst she’ll certainly get on your nerves sometimes, you’ll secretly admire her and find yourself wondering, “how does she do it?”.
OUR TOP TIP: Get friendly with her. Yes, it sounds crazy but trust us, those super-organisation skills which annoy you now will be exactly what you need when you’re planning your little one’s next birthday party.
#3. THE SUPER-OPINIONATED MUM
Debates are a natural part of PTAs and whilst the majority of Mums will be happy to receive and exchange opinions with you, this Mum… not so much. She has a very clear vision of how she thinks that events should be run and she isn’t really up for hearing anything that isn’t in support of her views. She’s read every book, on every topic and is convinced she knows the most about children, schools and everything in between. You’ll attempt (very hard) to have her understand your point of view but she’s likely not to budge and in the end, you’ll just accept that she is who she is.
OUR TOP TIP: Don’t take her remarks personally. You’ll want to argue with several of her comments but remember her intentions aren’t bad and there’s likely a very nice Mum underneath it all.
#4. THE PARTY-LOVING MUM
This Mum is new to the area and has joined the PTA mainly in the hopes of making some new friends. She’ll always offer to bring a bottle of wine to meetings and will interject most discussions to suggest you all plan a night out without the kids. She’ll invite you round for dinner and a playdate once a week and will attempt to convince you that every minor event in your life should be celebrated, even if it’s just you finding that hairband you thought you lost. She won’t be much help with any of the PTA logistics but she will ensure that all the events and school discos are a very good time.
OUR TOP TIP: Take her up on that offer of a child-free night out! Yes, she may seem a bit forward but she does make a good point – it’s always fun to spend some time with friends and you’re likely to really enjoy yourself.
#5. THE ULTRA FRUGAL MUM
Most Mums love a good deal but no Mum loves a good deal more than this one! She knows every offer going on at every supermarket within the postcode and she’s determined for every PTA event to be as cost-effective as possible. Her motto is “Why spend, when you can save?”, and you’ll hear her say this… alot. She’ll often digress into long tirades about the importance of budgeting and we can almost guarantee that when it’s her turn to bring the PTA snacks, it’ll be her leftovers from the night before.
OUR TOP TIP: Let her finish her point. You’ll understandably want to cut her off every time she starts on one of her tirades but often several of her points will be good ones and keeping costs down is never a bad thing!