Volunteering is in my blood. I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or something my parents instilled in me growing up. I only know that I have volunteered in one way or another from candy striping at a hospital when I was a teenager to making preemie layettes as a grandma.
I have been thinking a lot about taking my volunteering to the classroom. I volunteered when my kids were in school, so volunteering in the classroom is nothing new. I have noticed that teachers don’t get as much help in the classroom as they did when my daughters were in school. I figured I could easily volunteer two hours a week. After all, I waste more than that on spinning my wheels. I just needed to find someone who needed my help.
I thought about volunteering in Patrick’s first grade classroom but I learned from substitute teaching in my daughters’ classes that working in the same classroom as your child has some major drawbacks. Quite often, it is best if you work or volunteer in another class. With that in mind, I approached my grandson’s ex-kindergarten teacher. She was surprised that I offered to volunteer for her. She mentioned that Patrick wasn’t in her class this year. I smiled and said, “I know.”
I told her that she did such a great job with Patrick in kindergarten that volunteering for her this year was my way of giving back. She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t need to say anything.
I have been volunteering for three weeks now. I love it! I get to work with the kids in-group activities and help the teacher and her aide. I’ve made signs, put projects in cubbies, made copies, and played games. I also get to watch and learn as the teacher teaches.
So far, I have learned that the tools the schools have today have improved from what they had when my daughters were young. I have also learned that the kids are more sophisticated now than they were in kindergarten a long time ago. They know more. With that said, the kids are still kids. Some are more social than others are. That’s a given.
I look forward to my few hours in a kindergarten classroom. Probably the best gift is the smiles and waves the kids give me as I walk past them on the way to collect my grandson at the end of the school day. I also like their recognition when I walk into the class on my volunteer day. I wouldn’t miss their smiles for the world. This is going to be a great year!