I recently worked with the PTSA as the Grants Pass School District (where I am student teaching) by presenting a short workshop on internet use and children. My audience added a new dimension to the presentation – though I did not discuss any new ideas (as compared to previous iterations. A PTSA is similar to a PTA (Parent Teacher Association). The difference lies in the third letter – “S” – for students!
The presentation did not truly change except for my embarrassment level. There are things I talk about to parents (like sexting) that I had a hard time saying with students there. Despite my verbal stumbling things went well and my HTML5 based presentation looked great on a big screen. In fact, the students provided me with the most critical and useful feedback of the night – asking for the animations to slow down or have more lead time – things I am happy to accomodate.
A PTSA is a new concept for me and one that I really believe in. Getting the students involved sets a different tone to the body of parents, and, at the middle school level, parent involvement in the school seems to drop. By involving students the group appeared to have a higher level of engagement and focus – students and their learning. Wherever I end up as a teacher I hope to involve myself in the PTSA connected to my institution – if for nothing more than to connect with the community in one more fashion.