Tuesday, November 4, 2008

School and Girl Scouts and Church and more! (Part 1)

I realized the other day that I have posted very little about my title claim of being "Volunteer Extraordinaire". Kind of interesting considering that volunteering is such a huge part of my life!

So relax for a few minutes while I regale you with tales of the crazy, headache-inducing, but incredibly fulfilling insanity that is Volunteer Work...

Monday afternoons I love, love, love because I go into Emma's third grade class to help the kids learn the writing process. Sometimes I meet with small groups -- one or two kids -- to discuss what they're writing and how they can expand, edit, add detail, etc. Other days, I wander around the classroom answering questions and helping to clarify the sticky points.

Occasionally, the teachers will call on me to talk to the kids about techniques from a "real life author". It is so much fun! Many of these kids want to be writers when they grow up, so they are really listening and really trying and really making progress.

Walking into the classroom yesterday (Monday) afternoon, I set my things down and settled in to listen to the writing lesson. When she finished, Mrs. L. gave me a run-down of what she needed me to do. Before she turned back to the kids, she said, "The two kids you helped last week came back into the room so excited! I listened to them tell their table mates all about the ideas and suggestions you gave them. It was awesome!"

Yes! I am actually making a difference! I'm somehow imparting my experiences on these little people in a way that they understand and can employ to advance their writing skills! How cool is that!!

Last year, in Hayley's fifth grade class, her teacher asked me to help a boy with the beginnings of an essay. We sat in the co-op and he said, "I'm not a good writer. I'm just no good at it." By the end of our half hour together, he was so excited with what he'd been able to do with his heretofore lacking essay. All I did was ask him questions and help him understand what makes writing great. As he stood up to go back into class, he gave me an brilliant, lopsided grin and said, "I can't wait to tell my mom about that! She's going to be so proud of me!"

I left the school that afternoon so incredibly fulfilled.

The next time I came in to help out, Ms. V. told me that the boy came back into the classroom after I'd met with him and he was ecstatic! He couldn't wait to tell everyone what he learned -- most importantly, that he was a good writer!

I made a difference in this kid's life. I made a difference that will help him not only through the rest of his school career, but his work career as well. I know without a doubt that he will remember that half hour for a very long time to come.

**Delicious Disclaimer**
If you know me well, you know that I am one of the last people on earth who could brag about themselves. If you don't know me well (or at all), please understand that I haven't shared all this to say "oh look how great I am". I've shared this because volunteering has fulfilled me in so many different ways that I never could have imagined. These kids I work with inspire me.

1 comment:

Kendall's Mom said...

Hey Kate! Awesome news on the "green front!" And that's a great pic of you and your hubby. Me and mine are overdue for a good shot...Also, I loved the story about getting books when you trick or treat! That's so cool... and it would be a neat idea, eh? As far as the homeschooling/public school mix, I know I don't have it in me to homeschool and I wouldn't want to restrict Kendall's knowledge to what's inside my pea brain. But I have a suggestion... to supplement the public school I think you should play "hooky" with your girls once a month. Have them skip school and the three of you go to a museum or local historical site, your own educational field trip, special time with your girls that is learning focused. And as for volunteering, I don't know you well, but I can see how your gentle nature and positive energy would be so good for those kids!