Today was my last day of volunteering, and I was honestly really sad to be done! I visited two different volunteering sites today. One of them was in Mrs. Koepp's classroom, and I got to watch her students put on a play, which was really fun to watch! It was definitely really hard having to tell the students that today was my last day, I didn't realize how much they liked having me there until today! After having visited Mrs. Koepp's class, I went to go work with Mr. Englehorn at the high school to help with oral exams to make up for a missed volunteer shift last week due to having been sick. It was really strange visiting my the high school that I went to, as well as giving tests to students that I once took in the past! This experience was fun because I got to use a lot of Spanish, and because I saw a lot of myself in those students, as I took the same class and went to the same school they did when I was their age. Overall, today was really rewarding because, in Mrs. Koepp's class, I was really able to see the positive impact I made on her student's lives, and because in Mr. Englehorn's class, I was able to relate to the students because I took the same test and class when I went to high school there too.
Today, my time with the students began with sort of just monitoring them while they completed a comprehensive test or a reading activity. Eventually, I was able to work with a few of the students who had trouble completing the test, which was nice because I noticed that my being there helped them to complete the test because they were a little anxious due to the fact that everybody else was already finished. As class time went on, I got to the students engage in their "building communities" time, which was really fun because I got to see how all of the students interact with each other, as well as how they choose to work together. Through this time, I feel as if I was able to have a hands-on experience with the students because I was able to do some of the activities with them, and really get some insight on how each student choose to participate.
Today was probably the most interesting day I've had in Mrs.Koepp's class, it was a lot of fun! I recieved three different drawings from the students, and of course, they were all beautifully done! I also was taught how to "dab" by a few of the students, it was a great time (I laughed a lot!). Aside from all of the fun stuff, I helped the students take their comprehension tests, and I feel like I really helped some of the students by just aiding in soothing any test anxiety that the students may have had. In specific, there was one student that didn't finish as fast as the other students, but I got her to calm down a bit about the test, and helped her through the questions by reading them out loud with her and giving her a high five at the end! I also read one-on-one with a few of the students, and I also made a connection with one of the students by getting to speak Spanish with her. Through this experience, I feel I played an important role in helping them with test anxiety while also making fun connections with students by getting to know them a little bit better!
Last Thursday, I took part in a mix of activities. These activities included working one-on-one with a student, as well as working with multiple students at once. The most challenging activity for me was working with the group of students, because it is hard for me to be assertive when students aren't doing what they should be doing, but in the end all went well! From this, I learned how to understand why some kids behave the way they do, which also helped me to get to know the students a little bit better. It definitely put some things in perspective, as sometimes I too can be guilty of zoning out during learning activities or just class in general, so being put on the other side of the equation opened my eyes a bit. In addition to this, I have noticed that with every class period that I attend, the students are more eager to work with me, and I get more of them wanting to read with me during the reading portion of the class. Overall, I feel like I have made a lot of progress with these students, and I (would like to) think that they like having me around!
During this volunteer experience, the teacher of the class was gone, and so I was working with a substitute teacher. Upon my arrival, the substitute teacher asked what my role was as a volunteer in the class. This question really got me thinking about what exactly my role was, and how my presence is impacting the students that I am working with. With these questions coursing through my head, I became very mindful as to how me taking the time to read with a student one-on-one, or just simply helping them to make sure a student completes a test they are taking could help the student feel as though they are getting a little bit more of a personalized learning experience. I also took note that for some students, it was something really special for them to be able to read with someone one-on-one. Most of the students that asked me to do this with them always seemed so excited! Overall, this experience got me thinking about the role that I am playing in these students' lives through my time with them, and I would like to think that my being there is a help to these students' learning experience.
Thursday, the 25th, was my third time working with Mrs. Koepp's class. Out of all three shifts, I would say that this one was the most interactive. During my time with the class this Thursday, I went around the room and helped the students work with stories that dealt with problem and solution. This activity made this shift more interactive than others because it allowed me to see how all the students' perceptions vary and how they all learn differently. It was really interesting to see all of the things that some of the kids had written down on their paper! By the end of class time, the students had the choice to read one-on-one with someone in the class, and so one of the students chose to come and read with me. This one-on-one time with a student was something that I hadn't gotten to do yet during this semester of volunteer work, and it was a nice way to make a connection with some of the students I am working with. Through this volunteer shift, I learned how to notice when students need a little extra help with their work, and I think that students learned that I am there to help them. Overall, this experience helped me build a stronger connection with the students by helping them with their work.
This time, my experience in the classroom was a bit more interactive in terms of the activities I engaged in with the students. Similar to last time, the class began with introductions to the class and other daily morning activities that the class does. Eventually, I was able to work with a group of students to help them learn the concept of cause and effect. While I found it challenging to get the students to listen to me at times, it was still a fun learning experience in that they taught me what I needed to do in order to get things done with the students. Through this experience, I think the students learned what it's like working with people other than their teacher, and I learned how to gain cooperation from students.
For my first volunteering experience of the semester, the majority of my time was spent getting familiar with the students and the teacher of the class. When I first got there, the teacher asked me to share a few things about myself with class, and it was really fun when the students came up to me personally and introduced themselves. In addition, I helped students make sure they were following along with the activity they were working on in class, and through that, I was able to become familiar with the way in which the class is structured and the general rhythm of the class. As for differences of experience, the students may have been more focused on the fact that there was someone new in the class, which can sometimes make it hard for the students to focus, which made the experience for me a learning experience, in that it taught me how to work with students to help them to focus on what is going on in class. The main thing I got from this experience was getting to know the students in a way that helped me learn how to interact with them and help them learn in the future.
On Monday and Wednesday, I went and worked with the students in Mr. Englehorn's Spanish class again. Monday, I just gave practice exams to the students, and so the experience was really similar to the one I had last Wednesday, but it was still fun and beneficial because of how much I got to use my Spanish skills. Today, I gave actual exams to the students. Most of the students wanted me to give them their test because they know me, and they thought I would give them a good grade no matter what- but of course, that wasn't the case! I was also pleasantly surprised by a student in the class today because she was asking me questions about the Spanish program at Gustavus, and stated that she wants to PSEO in Gustavus Spanish classes like I did when I was a senior in high school. It was really to have been able to share my knowledge about the classes with the student, and I hope that I will be able to help with more exams at the high school in the future.