Over the last few years, the volunteering that I have always chose to do was somehow related to my career goal. In the past I have always been a teaching assistant for the Human Anatomy class or volunteered at Special Olympics Michigan. This year, I decided to do something a little more fun. I volunteered in my mom’s classroom.
My mom is a first grade teacher at Muskegon Public Schools. This was her first year teaching first grade, but not her first year in the classroom. She was a third grade teacher and a reading interventionist in the 10 years prior. She works in an inner city school. A majority, if not all of the students in her class belong to 1 parent, extremely low income or unemployed families. Students regularly come to class hungry, wearing the same clothes from the day or days prior.
I completed the majority of my hours when I was home for Christmas break. What did I do in a first grade classroom you may ask? Well, I leveled books, sorted books by topic, painted bookshelves, organized closets, sorted files, you name it, I did it. A majority of these tasks I enjoyed doing because surprisingly enough, cleaning is a way I clear my head. And I also got to spend time with my mom, what beats that?
The biggest thing I learned during my time in my mom’s classroom was how appreciative her students and their families are of the time and attention she gives. Her students absolutely adore her. They are constantly drawing her pictures and telling her that they love her. Teaching donate so much of their own time, money, and resources to their students and are unfortunately, rarely recognized and thanked for their hard work.
I honestly did not think that I would learn anything from this experience. Boy was I wrong.
- I learned why my mom is always so tired after work. She works extremely hard.
- I learned why she goes to work 3 hours before school starts. She constantly has grading, planning, and cleaning to do.
- I learned why my mom is always asking me to donate lightly used backpacks, clothes, and school supplies. The families of her students are unable to provide these things on their own and students need these things to thrive.
Being a teacher is not an easy job. Teachers are unrecognized super heroes.