And so continued my quest to become a weekly 9th grade, social studies classroom volunteer. The students had adored the previous teacher who’d quit in December to have a baby, then seen a variety of substitutes. Somewhere in the mix the kids lost trust and hope. At least that’s my opinion. A teacher friend of mine took over the classes in April and encountered stiff challenges from the start. Her previous teaching was 4th grade science and math in a small, rural community. We live in (consistently) a city which ranks in the top ten in the nation for diversity. Some of the conflicts had racial overtones, which I never dealt with when I taught for one year, straight out of college, some 40+ years ago. Wanting to help her, and having volunteered before in this school district, I filled out the online forms and my friend spoke to the principal. Apparently adult volunteers in high schools are a rarity. 😦 A few weeks passed before I received a call to meet with the principal. I understood her hesitation, and assured her if I felt I was a catalyst, I would vacate the classroom as soon as possible.
I’ve completed my second successful Thursday and the teacher and I are thrilled. Okay, I bake two versions of a treat each time and ask for opinions. Short bread came first, then blond vs. brunette (chocolate) brownies – always with listed ingredients. This week the last class period was on social/emotional growth and the curriculum was on occupations. The teacher allowed me to do mock job interviews and I heard the most heartfelt reason for one student to aspire to becoming a lawyer. Goosebumps rose on my arm as the student spoke of experiences with CPS and not feeling as if their voice was heard. How many in the system had not listened?
My own listening will be with the intent to understand in this classroom.
If I can offer support to help a teen navigate our tough world, I am willing. I currently also volunteer on the local Land Use and Planning Committee and take bi-monthly samples of our lake water. Tell me about your volunteering, please. I’d love to hear your stories.
An inspiring post! Thanks for sharing, Sally 🙂
Thank you. It really takes little effort to give back. I guess I was raised to volunteer by a mom who led brownies/girl scouts, collected for the American Cancer Society, did Meals on Wheels (in her 80s with younger clients than her) and gave gallons of blood. The teens give me energy from witnessing theirs.
We definitely need more people to help out! I work in a district that is also diverse and under-staffed. We currently have 478 job openings in our district. 102 of those are in high school.
If I were younger, I would substitute. I have a full SPED degree (behavior disorders), minor in Fine Arts and am 3 credits from a Psych minor. Somewhere along the way I earned a lifetime substitute certif. I honestly think that isn’t a good idea, but ah well, they were desperate for subs at the time. I wish we could fund college for teachers who commit to 2 or 3 years service. So many kids are close to the cliff….I truly hope you can get some positions filled. “Children need us the most when they are at their worst”…. I gave that frig. magnet to my teacher friend.
Teach for America does fund college–or pays off loans–to people who commit to two to three years. Unfortunately, many of them do not stay in the profession. This shortage was coming. Districts should have seen it in the very few young people majoring in education, but most states have done little to recruit.
Sad but true on they should’ve seen it coming and offered incentives….what is wrong with our higher education system and the private supporters? Don’t get me started on the football program at Washington State University and the beautiful workout and arena facilities vs. the old, dilapidated buildings for Sciences and Math…my son went there and gave us a full tour. It made me sick.
I read a wonderful book, called the attendant physician, RB Dominic, and it was suggested that the federal government fund medical students by requiring them to serve for two or three years.
I would like them to do that for teachers.
I volunteer with reading to kids once a month. This is a program where we go to inner city schools read a book and do a craft. It’s a lot of fun.
I used to be a Homework helper at N. Valley Care Center pre-Covid. Now I have my grand children in the afternoons and that doesn’t work.
I also volunteer to do income taxes with the VITA program.
What you are doing is marvelous. I know the students get so much out of what you’re doing. Partly because you’re asking for their opinions and the other reason is you’re just a wonderful person.
Ditto on the wonderful person back to you. The joy you bring via movies and TV is inspirational….and your grand children will learn, cherish and be better people from you loving influence. Volunteers ROCK!