Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Somewhere between Philantropy and Education Lies School Fundraising
I'm going to get on my soapbox for a minute and let the educators in my PLN know that fundraising is good and they should support it. Fundraising is a philanthropic effort, and yet, there is resistance to it.
When many educators here something about fundraising I suspect they wince a bit. I know how it goes. I know that goes against the fiber of what it means to be a teacher and you'll enjoy my reasoning... Here it goes:
1) Teachers do not like intrusion - Anything that interrupts a teachers day is not good.
2) Teachers need to be encouraged to have amazing parent/teacher relationships and selling things can mess up that relationship.
3) Teachers want tools, devices and technology but what they want most is time enough to do their jobs.
4) Teachers feel that the school demands things from them and doesn't reciprocate when they give of themselves.
There's my down and dirty (and quite honest) rational as to why teachers resist getting involved with fundraising and other school activities and events. Hey, for anyone that is offended, I apologize upfront. I am sure that many teachers do not struggle with these issues and that others feel like they do more than their part without complaint. The individuals I mention above really do exist though in a large way and I think I have a few solutions we can consider.
The first thing that has to be addressed is intrusion. Fundraising companies, schools and administrators should minimize intrusion of classroom time. Where it is absolutely necessary, let teachers in on why so they can be part of the overall team and not feeling like they are being taken advantage of. If a school sends home an alarming amount of requests for this and that, consider minimizing or consolidating to make things easier.
Regarding relationships I believe that when schools introduce items that can negatively affect a parent/teacher relationship, teachers feel threatened. A product, for instance, being sold that is not a good value or that is of low quality can erode that relationship. I believe teachers have every right to protect themselves. The moral is, do not pass anything on to parents that could jeopardize a teachers ability to create trust with a parent.
When it comes to a teachers time I believe that they should be able to manage day to day with some time left for professional development. This development, I suspect, would lead to introducing new technology into the classroom and putting into place time-saving measures and collaborative learning exercises.
School fundraising events and product fundraisers should give back to the classrooms. Teachers should see a reward for participating in school fundraising in the form of supplies they desire. If teachers realize their efforts reward their class in particular, they will be more likely to support fundraising.
Technology can help! By going to a digital classroom, many things like grading, tracking etc. can be done in nano seconds instead of hours. If the input is digital so is the output so teachers who can integrate devices should be able to save hours of grading time.
Reciprocate! A relationship between administration and teachers is a two-way street. I believe that teachers if feeling well taken care of, will act in a more responsible way. Teachers who feel they are being 'shafted' will not put in 100%. Just because schools are government funded, they should not be run like the DMV. We all owe it to our children to be active, involved and participating to the best of our ability.
This happens when we feel valuable and recognized.
So, I hope this has stoked the fire a bit. I feel a bit strange about this one only because it's pretty honest and I don't want to speak for teachers. In the end, I have gathered and presented this information to help everyone feel better about fundraising and why it needs to be supported. The thing is, our teachers may need some support first before buying into the fact that fundraising is good for them too.
Ok, go out there and do some good and I'll catch up with you next time.
Elementary School Fundriasing
Elementary School Fundraising Blog