ONE WAY TO VOLUNTEER

Amy Dunkin

The other day, as I was waiting to pick up my kids from school, I saw the mother of one of my son's classmates walking down the steps wearing a white lab coat and a stethoscope around her neck. Knowing she was a pediatriac heart transplant surgeon--yes, it blows my mind, too--I asked her if she had just come from the hospital.

"No," she said, showing me the plastic model of a heart she was holding in her hand. "I was just speaking to the class about my work."

"That's great," I told her. "I did the same thing a few weeks ago." I gave a presentation to the budding writers in my son's 4th grade class about my job as a magazine editor and the importance of the editing process. At first I wasn't so sure how interested they'd be. But I came with plenty of visuals, and to my delight, they were thoroughly engaged.

There are many ways working parents can volunteer their time at school. (See Anne Tergesen's entry below this one, "A Blog Brawl Turns Peaceful.") But one of the best ways is to make a date to go in and talk to the children about what you do. Guaranteed, whatever it is, it will be relevant to something they're learning.

Plus, the teacher is sure to welcome the effort. It will give you a wonderful opportunity to interact with the class and observe all the different personalities in action. And the best part: Your child will be so excited and proud to have mom or dad as the featured guest.

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