I decided to volunteer with Tutor Outreach to Provo Schools (TOPS) during winter semester. I worked for one hour on Mondays and Wednesdays with Miss B in Wasatch Elementary School’s sixth grade music class. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I began to serve, but by the end I was so happy that I chose to participate in TOPS. Through this volunteer experience, I have definitely learned a lot about classroom management, the frustrating moments and happy moments of being a teacher, incorporating technology in the classroom, discipline, and the importance of being consistent.
TOPS was such an incredible experience. On the first day, Miss B. simply introduced me to the class and then throughout the semester she had me help out the students and keep them on task as they worked on their class projects. Today, the last day, they worked on research projects about different composers. Their assignment was to choose a composer, come up with 10 “interview questions,” find the answers to those questions on the internet, and choose one of their composer’s songs to play for the class in a presentation. I went around to each group and made sure that they stayed on task and found the information they needed. The students did not even have to leave their classroom to use computers; they had brought laptops to the classroom. They loved having the freedom to do research on the laptops and use Google- it was kind of a big deal. They used headphones and got to listen to their composer’s music, which they loved.
By the last day of TOPS I had learned every student’s name and had gained a whole class of new friends. When the students found out that it was my last day, they were so disappointed! It was then that I felt like I actually made a difference. As I reflect on the past few months, I realize the improvement that took place in my relationship with the students. The students started to call me by my name, Miss Kristie, and they liked when I interacted with them. They would give me high fives as they left the classroom. They trusted me like their own teacher to answer their questions. After each day in class, I would talk to Miss B. about how the day went, what she wish went better, and how she is planning on improving next time. It was neat to see how she wanted to improve and that she shared those goals with me so that I could help her make them happen.
I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to participate in TOPS. I loved being able to be in a classroom and it made me so much more excited to be a teacher and have a classroom of my own! I am definitely planning on volunteering with this program next Fall and I would encourage each of you to volunteer as well.
Have you volunteered with TOPS or with other similar service organizations? Have you had any neat experiences? Please share!