Social Engagement: High
What’s What: Schools across the country rely on volunteers to work in their libraries, art classrooms, with small groups in math, science and reading, on the playground and more. If you give your time, you can help lead the future of your community.
Amava Take: If you love teaching, learning and mentoring, there are meaningful and rewarding opportunities for flexible volunteering in your own backyard. Elementary school teachers are superheroes, looking out for the intellectual and social growth of kids, not to mention their safety and well-being. They work hard and appreciate the time and energy that volunteers give to help them provide their students with as much enrichment as possible. If you want to be at the forefront of community building in your city or town, getting involved with your local schools is a delightful way to meet people and stay connected.
From the Front Lines:
What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these positions?
Responsible people who are patient and curious.
Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?
Make sure you always sign in at the office and get the appropriate guest pass.
What’s a typical daily schedule like?
Usually volunteers come in at a specific time, typically for an hour or so.
From the Trenches:
What’s the most satisfying part of the job/experience?
When I’m working with a group of students and I see them reach a new level of understanding. Also, the laughter.
How would you describe the hard parts?
It’s sad to see how stressed some young people are.
What’s the coolest thing you learned from working with elementary school students?
I think we underestimate how bright and creative kids are. They often approach problems in novel ways that I never would have considered.
Special Requirements: School volunteers usually go through screening and fingerprinting. If you drive students you’ll have to provide your license and insurance information. Other than that, being prompt and responsible are the most important criteria. Here are some tips for being an effective classroom volunteer.
Finding a Position: The most effective way to find a position that will work for you is to get in touch with the school where you’d like to volunteer. Most often, you’ll be directed to the PTA, and the people who run it will help you find what you’re looking for. If you live in the right location, you can join the Citizen Teacher program and share some specific wisdom or experience that you have with students. You can also work with Action for Healthy Kids and look for events and programs near you. After school programs also need volunteers nationwide.