[nobe-l] First day volunteering

Ashley Bramlett bookwormahb at earthlink.net
Sun Jun 18 04:15:22 UTC 2017

Hi Kayla,

Enjoy the volunteer experience and do your best. Interact kindly but 
professionally with them.
You can explain to the kids how you want to proceed with activities and what 
they should say. Since you cannot see them, you can request they verbalize 
to you if they are leaving and where they are going.
First grade is a fun age to be with. I prefer middle elementary school when 
kids have more vocabulary and can read better such as 2 to 4th grade.
I also think you should pursue a teaching degree. You can always change 
majors if you feel its not working out.
I'm on the list here as I'm interested in teaching or tutoring kids still 
even though I did not get an education degree but a communication degree. I 
tried education but it did not work for me for a variety of reasons such as 
the demanding outside work and lack of accessible texts as well as trying to 
observe as part of our class work which did not go too well. The kids did a 
lot of visual stuff like coloring pictures so I did not fully get a sense of 
what was happening even though I tried using other ways like asking some of 
I figured I can still help kids even though it might be on a volunteer basis 
now unless I try to go to grad school for education.

Anyways, about volunteering, don't be so hard on yourself. Maybe the kids 
thought they were supposed to leave. Maybe they did not know what to do 
afterward and did not think to verbalize they were leaving. I think 
volunteering on a temporary basis can be challenging, but with time it can 
be overcome. Unlike teaching, as a volunteer someone else set up the room 
and schedule. As a volunteer, you cannot discipline kids although you can 
certainly set boundaries and rules of curtesy for interaction with you. I'm 
saying as a volunteer you have somewhat less control over the environment 
than a teacher has in the classroom. This does not mean you cannot do it, 
but it does mean you need to advocate more and perhaps do things a little 
differently than other volunteers.

I tried volunteering at a nonprofit summer day camp. It did not work out for 
reasons which I do not know but they asked me to come in only an hour after 
my second week there when I thought things were well. I then volunteered at 
another summer camp which went better; it probably went better because I had 
better support from staff.
At my first volunteer summer camp at Facets, a very similar thing happened 
to me.
I sat with the kids as they played their choice of board games. I was just 
there to see they played cooperatively and that they cleaned up afterward.
Well, the kids often finished a game and ran off to do something else. 
Sometimes they told me and other times they did not.
This was a free form time of recreation. Still it would have been nice if 
they told me what they were going to do and where they went.

Another time at Facets, I had a child read to me who was probably in third 
grade. The kids were told to read to a buddy, usually another volunteer. 
Well, my kid did the reading and fairly well for her age. I had a hard time 
hearing her due to the noise of the crowded room sometimes.
She finished the book and got up to leave just as in your situation. I did 
ask the leader where she went and found out.
Like your situation, none of the camp leaders were interested in teaching 
although they were also college kids.
I think things will go better with some advocacy. Even if they do not, 
again, don't be so hard on yourself. Sometimes the volunteer environment is 
not a good fit. If its not, you can always try another volunteer setting.

I'm wondering how people keep track of kidsin a child care setting.
The only suggestion I have is for you to ask kids to communicate with you.
It seems challenging. I have low vision, but kids seem to get lost in the 

I did have a better experience at another camp sponsored by the nonprofit 
Wesley Housing development Corporation and am thinking of returning, so it 
all depends on the situation.
So Kayla, keep volunteering and don't compare it to teaching too much.


-----Original Message----- 
From: Kayla James via NOBE-L
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 11:42 PM
To: nobe-l at nfbnet.org
Cc: Kayla James
Subject: [nobe-l] First day volunteering

I began volunteering today. I helped four first graders with reading and 
Math. It went okay, but suddenly all of my students got up and left. I felt 
embarrassed and had to ask the "teacher" to bring them back.
All of the teachers were college kids like me, but none were interested in 
being teachers.
I felt drained when I left there. Once again, I wondered if I was cut out to 
Will update again the next time I go.

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