Why you should volunteer as a teacher at least once in your life?
What does it mean to volunteer? According to the Oxford Dictionary: "A volunteer is a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task", according to me, volunteering is a life-changing experience where you are able to help others.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Zayra R.
I volunteered for the first time 7 years ago and I remember to be very excited and a little nervous, not knowing what to expect. The moment I arrived at the shelter house for abandoned girls, I knew right away that I had to give my best every day. During that week, we fixed the garden, planted flowers and vegetables and I also helped building rooms and decorating them.
I taught basic English to the kids and helped with Spanish and Math classes, always guided by the main teacher from Minnesota from whom I learned so much. For me the best part of this experience was that I learned more than I could possibly teach and I wasn't expecting this at all.
The second time I volunteered was collecting money for a cat shelter and finally the third one was as a Spanish teacher in a rural community.
By the time I went to New York City, I already knew that my passion was teaching, so when I started working with a child called Josh as a nanny, I opened my eyes to a new way of teaching. Josh was born with a heart disease so he spent his first three years of life in a bed without being able to do much. The situation delayed his learning so much so that it was so challenging for him to add or learn new vocabulary and spell it in the right way. Even eating properly with a spoon was very difficult for him. He had to take a lot of extra classes and therapy for speaking, basic social skills, cognitive learning, etc.
I used to speak with his teachers and therapist about his progress and the way we could help at home, so I got engaged in his learning progress and I really committed to help Josh as much as I could. I practiced the new words with him in different ways so he didn't get tired or hate the learning progress. I tried my best for him to have fun during the process. However, my knowledge about special education was very limited and at times I also got tired and frustrated.
That is how I found about this amazing classes for teachers who wanted to expand their knowledge about special education, so I took two special diplomas about special kids like Josh, and I fell in love even more with teaching and education with the new techniques and skills that I learned. After that, I was able to help Josh more effectively and even with his parents, because as we know, parents are always the most important key at a kids education.
Being able to connect with Josh's therapist, parents and his teachers was a very enriching experience for me. His teachers even gave me the trust to go into classes from time to time, and I learned so much and I am forever thankful for the trust they place in me to help Josh.
This life-changing experiences had taught me that teaching is my passion and the love you receive in exchange is the most beautiful reward ,giving without expecting anything in return.
I hope everyone could do it at least once. Volunteering opens so many doors for both parties, it really opens your eyes and your heart to connect with the world around you.
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