FOR TEACHERS WHO USE VOLUNTEERS IN THEIR CLASSROOM
“Volunteers work for free, but not for nothing”
Working with volunteers requires time and planning, the benefits of more individualized support for your students and the sharing of both tasks and ideas can enrich your experience as a teacher.
Getting to Know Your Volunteer
Your volunteer has attended an hour-long orientation session at Cambridge School Volunteers prior to your meeting. She probably has a moderate understanding of the workings of your school. Her understanding of your needs may be limited to the information submitted in your request. During your initial meeting plan, discuss the following:
- The volunteer’s interests, skills and experience.
- Your needs and how you run your classroom.
- Days and times that the volunteer will be in the classroom.
- How you will keep in touch (informational meetings, notes, e-mail, telephone, regular conferences).
- How you will let him know plans for the class period.
- How you will introduce the volunteer to the class.
- What name the volunteer would like students to call him or her.
Working with Your Volunteer
While your volunteer works in your class, she needs to feel well used, and that she is part of a team. Plan to:
- Keep him informed about progress and problems of the student(s) he helps.
- Give specific instructions about the type of help to offer so there is a mutual understanding.
- Have an alternate plan if the student(s) he regularly works with are absent.
- Give her pertinent background information about students.
Maintaining the Interest of Your Volunteer
In order to maximize your volunteer’s commitment to and enthusiasm about your class, make sure to:
- Express your appreciation regularly.
- Be available for questions and discussions.
- Make sure the volunteer’s time has been well used.
- Encourage him or her to learn new skills and take advantage of training opportunities.
- Include your volunteer in meetings, events and conferences when appropriate.
If questions or problems occur with your volunteer, it is important to consult with Cambridge School Volunteers Placement Coordinator, x6794.