My experience as a volunteer at the iEducateUSA Bridge Camp was what one could call eventful. Interacting with elementary students kept me alert, their intricate needs were something to look out for.
On June 8th, I began my 3-week volunteer journey at Crockett Elementary. I was placed with the rising third graders, alongside 6 other volunteers. That day I alongside the volunteers became acquainted with the classroom procedures and the students we would be assisting for the next three weeks.
After that day I officially began my work as a volunteer. I spent the hours of 8 am -11am making sure the rising third graders were completing their classwork and also seeing if they understood the subject taught each morning (which would be math or science depending on the day). This also included giving students one-on-one assistance when requested.
The mornings were hectic, yet werenÔÇÖt comparable to the afternoon. After lunch, the full-bellied volunteers and I would trudge back to the school, get into our classes, and wait for the oncoming storm of energetic children who marked the second part of the day. It was a workout making sure the students didnÔÇÖt stray from their work and didnÔÇÖt lure the volunteers into small-talk with them (something the kids are very good at!).
Although it was tiring at times, I would never trade the experience. The lives I helped, the understanding I received, and the respect for teachers I gained was invaluable. Students are harder to teach when there are so many of them in one class. A sole teacher cannot meet the needs of every student in his or her classroom when there are over 25 students in one classroom! The teacher usually needs to assist the ones who need the most help, and this at times causes others to have lower understanding of a subject. Alongside this, there are students who need a different types of explanations to gain knowledge of things.
iEducateUSA provided teachers the help they need by allowing us, the volunteers, to give them an extra hand in the classroom. Not only that, iEducateUSA gave volunteers like me a better understanding of patience and skills that will not be forgotten, skills such as listening, thinking of problems in more than one way, team work, and many others. Apart from these skills they learned the value of life and impacted the lives of the children they worked with, giving the students aspirations, role models, and determination, which is needed in a childÔÇÖs life as they grow up.
In the end, I found my time at iEducateUSA to be meaningful, and when asked if I would volunteer next year, I happily said yes. Now all is left is to wait till I get to see the students again.
– Jeevandeep Kaur