Classroom Volunteer Opportunities
By Charles Wohlforth
I learned a long time ago as an active parent that some volunteer work feels good and other work does not. I feel good when I am connecting with students and sense that I am making a difference. So when the opportunity came up to volunteer in the classroom for intensives earlier this year, I jumped at it. For two weeks I dropped in to work with students learning creative writing. It was a highlight of my year.
The secret of volunteering at Steller is that it doesn’t have to be virtuous or a sacrifice. It can be the most rewarding part of your week. Our students are smart, motivated, and appreciative of the help they can get from parents. I left the building energized and hopeful. I got to know some of my kids’ friends. And I felt like I had contributed something that really mattered.
As part of our all-community meeting early this school year, we decided to try to increase parent work in the classroom as a way of supporting teachers to provide more personalized and experiential learning. There are many ways an additional adult in the classroom can make teachers more effective. But we wanted to center the effort on teachers and their plans, so we asked them to list their needs first. Volunteers would fit into the classroom, not expect the class to fit into their interests.
Now we are experimenting with making this work. Teachers have posted their volunteer needs for spring intensives on a Google Doc (click here). We’d like every parent to click on that link and find out what our teachers need. When you find a job that fits your skills and schedule, email the listed teacher and let him or her know.
It’s as easy as that. Please do it now, so we can show Steller how much parents care.