Students at DC's Whittier Educational Campus with ReSET Volunteer Peter Mehrevari
Saturday, January 7, 2012
From ReSET Volunteer David McInnis' blog
David has blogged a number of times on his ReSET experience. Here's the first one:
So Tuesday I emailed someone at ReSET asking to talk with them about what they do and if they’d need someone like myself. The director responded asking if I’d like to meet at a school on Wednesday at noon. I was nervous and really wanted to push it off for a bit, but nothing was going to change that way so I accepted.
We met at the school. He had a clothes basket full of equipment and some 5 gallon buckets. We talked for a bit, things seem to go well. He explained that they are invited in to a class to teach one hour a week for 6 weeks. The school’s teacher is always present and is responsible for class management. The volunteer should organize the lessons with the teacher, but can still choose the topic.
So after we talked he asked if I wanted to assist for a class. I agreed, while feeling nervous.
I just played the part of the assistant, helping out trouble spots, handing out materials, etc. All went well.
The topic was an introduction to density by examining whether objects float or sink in water.
The kids really liked it. They have so much energy and were so curious and playful.
So we did a second session as well. I felt more comfortable and really enjoyed it.
Afterwards we talked about options; should I go and assist teachers that lack science background with their science lessons, or teach a group on my own, or shadow a couple more volunteers. Later in the day John Meagher emailed saying that he just lost a volunteer that was covering a 3rd grade class and maybe I should consider that.
That got me thinking about lessons and what topics to try… with lots of worry about them being truly worthwhile. I think it’s important to introduce the kids to something that they can relate to in their everyday life, not just a neat exercise they saw at school that has no direct real world use.
It’s a lot to ask for.
And maybe, given my lack of experience, it’d be better if I mostly took plans that were already in place so I could concentrate on the actual interaction with the students. I can build better lessons later.