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Are You Right for the PTO?


Take our simple test to see whether your personality type makes a good PTO parent.

by Sharron Kahn Luttrell


We’re faced with choices every day of our lives, some more critical than others: What type of career should I pursue? Which breed of dog should I own? What type of person is my ideal mate?

For help, many people turn to personality tests and skills assessments. But as far as I can tell, none exist for another of life’s big questions: Am I a good PTO parent? We’ve attempted to fill this gap by creating the following unscientific test. Please read each question and select the answer that best describes you.

1. I’m not myself if I get less than:
a. 8 hours of sleep a night
b. 10 hours of sleep a night
c. 6 hours of sleep—a week

2. I like to unwind by:
a. curling up with a good book
b. going for a walk
c. practicing my Excel spreadsheet skills

3. Discussions among my circle of friends tend to get heated when they involve:
a. politics
b. parenting styles
c. the relative merits of product sales vs. event-based fundraisers

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4. The most dangerous item in my home is:
a. the circular saw
b. the rat poison
c. the tower of teacher appreciation goody bags

5. When I go to a restaurant, I tend to:
a. order a new dish every time
b. order the same dish every time
c. pilfer the sugar packets for our parent involvement coffee meetings

6. When I get dressed in the morning, I like to wear:
a. casual clothing
b. professional attire
c. at least one article of school spiritwear

7. My ideal home:
a. offers the best value for the price
b. has the largest yard
c. includes ample storage space for carnival supplies

8. When my children argue, I:
a. send them to their rooms
b. tune them out
c. put them to work transcribing meeting minutes

9. When I wake up at night, it’s because I’m:
a. worrying about money
b. thinking about everything I have to do the next day
c. lying on top of my phone and a clipboard with the volunteer list

10. When the school year ends, I:
a. take off my watch and put it in a drawer
b. spend as much time in the pool as possible
c. spend the first three weeks writing thank-you notes to everyone who helped make the school year a success

Now tally up your answers. If you mostly responded “a,” you and the PTO belong together. if you answered “b” most frequently, you are a fabulous match. And if you selected “c” the majority of the time, you are an ideal PTO parent. Because unlike picking a career, a dog breed, or a romantic partner, you can’t go wrong by joining the PTO.

Originally posted in 2008 and updated regularly. Sharron Kahn Luttrell has volunteered with parent groups at two schools in Mendon, Mass.


# Tim Donnelly 2010-06-17 03:52
Thank you for the laugh and the perspective.

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