I wanted to share with all of you my experience as a volunteer in one of our elementary schools, Mill Creek. I began 6 years ago with one first grade classroom and one teacher. The teacher has since changed and her replacement inherited me! This year I moved, along with that teacher, as she transitioned into second grade. My role has evolved over the years as my skill base and comfort level grew and “my” teacher got to know my strengths. This year, I am coming into her class 2–3 mornings a week and work with the kids for 3 hours each time. My belief has always been each child, regardless of whether they are a struggling learner or a high achieving learner, deserves attention. The nature of how I address each child is based on what they require. I spend 15-20 minutes per child and every encounter is different and takes on a life of it’s own. I read with them, read to them, play word games, talk about life, laugh a lot, sympathize some and ponder the world together. Each and every child I spend time with becomes precious to me. They are funny, charming, earnest (although not always honest!) and all displaying admirable qualities. I have witnessed a child who is having academic difficulties in the classroom relax and shine when he/she can slow down and spend some one on one time with me. Every child has something special about them. The opportunity to step out of the rigorous academic setting with a nurturing non judgmental adult, even for 15 minutes, yields some very surprising results.
I’m sharing my experience to perhaps tempt another volunteer to consider becoming “attached” to one classroom and one teacher and develop a yearlong relationship with one teacher and one group of students each academic year. The rewards are huge. You will become a very significant part of many young lives. They will come to love you and to treasure the time they get to spend with you. You will teach them things way beyond their curriculum and impart a lot of life wisdom. In short, you become a super hero to them. Seriously.
There are several teachers I know who would love to welcome you into their classroom.
I would enjoy the chance to answer any questions that may occur to you if you think this sounds like an appealing idea. Whether it’s one morning a week or more, you would become a valued member of a team of people dedicated to building young lives in a safe and positive environment.
Consider it!
Leslie Cheron