Being an educator has given me the experience to learn what I already knew. That is; that in most cases, students who are academically successful are successful because of positive parental involvement in their education.
Parents are students’ first teachers. Parents lay down the foundation on which their child’s educational viewpoints rest. If parents place a high value on education, it shows up in student performance. If parents’ value on education is low, that also shows up in student performance.
Knowing that parents played such an integral part in their child’s education is what prompted me to get involved in PTA. I knew that the PTA was made up of mostly women. I didn’t care. What I did care about was working with parents in the hopes of developing our country’s next generation of leaders.
As I sit holding my PTA gavel, I often reflect on why I, a young male, would even entertain the idea of being PTA president.
For starters, being PTA president puts me in a leadership position. Anyone thinking that this is just a platform to launch my quest for power is highly mistaken. A quote that I live by is “The world needs FOLLOWERS, but it is LEADERS who affect change.
Change is what I’m about. As an educator, I constantly come across things that need to be changed, regarding our education system. However, I want to focus on one change at this point. In most of our urban schools, parental involvement is very low. So how do we change that?
One of the first questions I asked myself when I got involved in PTA was, “how do we get more parents involved.” Before that question could be answered, I had to ask myself another question. “Why are parents NOT involved?” Based off my experience in education these are the main reasons I find that parents are not involved:
- Some parents don’t feel welcomed into their child’s school.
- Some parents are intimidated by teachers and administrators.
- Some parents simply just don’t know how to get involved.
- And then you have parents who simply don’t place a high value on education.
This is where the PTA comes in at. Now I don’t want to make it seem as if the PTA is the only organization within the school that cares about reaching out to parents, because that is simply NOT true. The PTA is just where I found my place.
One of the ways that our local PTA looks to welcome parents into the school is through outreach events. We host what is called “Muffins for Moms.” I know what some are thinking; a young male hosting an event for mothers. I’m a big picture thinker and there are two things that get accomplished with this event. One is we are effectively outreaching and welcoming our parents into the school. The other thing is, along with being served breakfast, our parents are being educated on topics that will help them help their child be more academically successful. The key word here is EDUCATED.
Another reason why being PTA president was important to me was; I wanted to change the face of the organization. As I said earlier most people think “stay at home soccer moms” when they think PTA, and I wanted to change that. I wanted to show that MEN can be involved in PTA also. We care about our child’s education too.
Once I became an active PTA member, one of my missions was to successfully recruit male members. I figured if fathers saw me being active it would motivate them to be active also; thus destroying the stereotype of the PTA being a women only organization. I’m proud to announce that our Vice President is a dedicated father, and we just got another father and member to attend PTA meetings regularly. It’s a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.
I thought that being a teacher and PTA president would cause a conflict. But I think being teacher/PTA president works, because I feel it makes parents comfortable. Being PTA president means serving. I’m in a position to serve parents, as well as our students. During executive board/membership meetings, I think parents feel at ease knowing that their child’s teacher is aiding in executing plans that help their children WIN.
What I’m talking about here is breaking down walls and bridging gaps that exist between school and home. So what if the PTA is predominately a women’s organization! My responsibility is to do whatever it takes to make sure that our students are successful. Even if that means heading a predominately women’s organization; Fellas are you with me!!!!
About the Author: George Stewart II has dedicated his life to community/public service. His community service journey started in college where he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Through his fraternity George has been able to touch the lives of many people through various community service projects.Shortly after graduation, George became an educator and heavily involved in community outreach activities. When he is not educating his students on the various important events in history, he is making strides to help improve the education system and his community.George uses writing as another vehicle to get his voice heard. Through his writing, he hopes to encourage and motivate people to get involved in their community, as his writing have been featured on suite101.com, mybrotha.com, blackcommentator.com, yesdiamondsaidit.com, theblackmancan.org, and thefreshxpress.com. He lives by the motto, “If you give to your community, your community will give back to you, but don’t just give to get. Give because it is your responsibility.”George’s goals in life are be the best father and husband he can be, help improve the education system, help build a stronger community, and publish a book that tells his story.
The purpose of His Story is to tell the stories of Black Men young and old through videos and written work. Too often the story of Black Men is told by everyone else. His Story will be the catalyst to allow Black Men & Women to provide the positive contradiction to the prevailing Black male image of today.