Since my mom has been a teacher for over twenty years, I have experienced first-hand all of the work that goes into teaching, both in and out of the classroom. I am well aware of all of the extra work that goes into teaching a few hundred new students each year: planning lessons, grading homework and tests, and an abundance of meetings. I’ve done my fair share of helping my mother with lessons, PowerPoints, grading tests, and sitting in on meetings when I was younger. However, most of my job as a teacher’s child came in at the beginning of the year before my mother’s new students arrive on the first day, and at the end of the year after they’ve gone home for the summer. In order for the school’s janitors to thoroughly clean every room of the school, or to potentially change classrooms, teachers must pack up their rooms at the end of the year so that everything is off the floor and walls, but also be able to put it all back before the students return in August.
It never sounded as enjoyable as it actually was, but I’ve loved helping my mother and her coworkers with their rooms twice a year. Since I can remember, I’ve always had some kind of role when it came to classroom setup. Even when I was young and I couldn’t lift heavy boxes or reach very high, I still was able to clean desks and pack boxes. My mom even let me help her decide where all of her posters would go on the walls! I know now that it didn’t really matter where they went on the walls, but it made me overjoyed to make such seemingly big decisions.
Once the thought of applying to college started to pop into my head in late middle school, I started keeping track of all of the hours I spent helping at my mom’s school. By this time in my life I had figured out faster ways of putting up bulletin boards and posters, un-boxing teaching materials, and other tasks so I was able to help other, less experienced teachers in their rooms much sooner. Now my mom’s room only took about half of a day to set up and I could spend more time helping other teachers in their rooms and get community service hours for doing so.
Now that I’m in college, community service has a more important and personal meaning. At LMU, students who receive a scholarship or any form of financial aid must complete 10 hours of community service per semester for a total of 20 hours every year. Students receiving aid must get a signed letter by a supervisor detailing what kind of community service was done and for how long . Since I help all around my mom’s school and do not normally help a single teacher for more than a few hours, I have the head principal or one of the assistant principals write a letter for me. For more information, take a look at LMU’s Student Service Initiative (SSI) webpage.
Students participating in the SSI are not restricted to any specific kind of community service, but whatever volunteer work they choose to do must, in some way, relate to his or her course of study. Volunteering at a school gives me many options to relate to my majors. As an English and Psychology major, becoming a teacher is certainly a possibility for me. Each year I help a handful of teachers from each academic subject and I see the unique preparation teachers in each area must do in order to prepare for the upcoming year.
This year has been a little different for me in regard to what I’ve done to volunteer. I’ve assisted teachers in their rooms whenever I am needed, but the biggest and most time-consuming job I’ve had so far has been numbering every textbook for each grade level. Since my mother teaches at a middle school, there are three grades (6th, 7th, 8th) and four subjects with textbooks (Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science). So far I have numbered a few hundred textbooks and I’m only about halfway done. I’ve surprisingly enjoyed this job- I’ve never done it before but it allows me to work at my own pace and organize rooms that may not have been so organized before. Plus, it’s a good workout and nothing can beat that!
I plan on volunteering at whichever school my mother happens to teach at for as long as I can. Teachers have a lot to accomplish all throughout the year and it is incredibly satisfying to be able to give a little back to them.
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