On Being a Volunteer*
The volunteer is an important member of the school team. Working under the supervision of a school member, the volunteer can make significant contributions to the school. As with other school personnel, the volunteer must meet certain qualifications and accept certain responsibilities.
- Use of Facilities
- Sign in and out: Very Important
- Supplies, Materials, AV Equipment
- Helpful Reminders
- Tips for Tutors*
- Praise and Encouragement
The Volunteer should have:
- A genuine interest in helping students
- A warm and friendly attitude
- Ability to work with others in the school
- Acceptance of individual differences in students
- An appreciation for all racial and ethnic groups
The Volunteer should:
- Always sign in and out at the designated place
- Understand volunteer guidelines
- Discuss program plans, successes, and problems with staff
- Be aware of specific school goals and assist the staff in accomplishing them
- Know who to notify if unable to keep commitment
- Be dependable
- Be discrete: keep school information confidential
- Know the chain of command in the school building
Things to Keep In Mind When Volunteering
Parking- Park in parking lot in designated parking spaces.
Phones- Use the phones in the office or teachers lounge (please do not use cell phones in the presence of students).
Use of names: always introduce yourself to students as Mrs. ______, Mr. ________,
Notification of absence: If you have a regular time that you volunteer in a room, please try to call at least 24 hours ahead and/or leave a message when you are unable to make it.
Security: The school needs to know who is in the building at all times. A badge must be worn at all times.
Document time: It is important that you document the time spent volunteering. Volunteer hours are totaled at the end of the year.
The teacher should supply these to you. When using the copier machine, be courteous to teachers waiting to use the machine if you are not in a rush. All AV equipment must be checked out through the media center to the teacher.
Volunteers become important members of the school team. Working directly with students, volunteers need to observe the same rules of conduct that teachers do. These include:
Respecting Individuality: Be aware of the variation in teaching styles and student learning styles.
Working Cooperatively: The teacher and the volunteer should work as a team to assure positive outcomes when working with students.
Maintaining Confidentiality: When you discuss student’s needs with teachers you may learn personal information which can only be shared with responsible staff members. Such information is confidential and must not be talked about outside the school. Gossip about students, their homes, or our school could cause harm to the student, the family, and the school team.
- Your words and actions should always agree in dealing with students. Never promise what you can’t follow through on.
- Don’t be afraid to use your head and your good judgment: but if you are unsure what to do, ask.
- Communicate criticisms of the school, staff, or procedures only to the administrative staff.
- Use available resources for help and advice.
- Remember your interest and enthusiasm may motivate students to success.
- Meet students in a relaxed, friendly manner.
- Learn students’ names and how to pronounce them.
- Give students your full attention; listen to what they have to say.
- Let students know you are human too; don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
- Set an example by being courteous and respectful.
- Be prepared, have all materials ready.
- Build the students’ self-confidence. Let them know you expect them to do well.
- Make all tasks appear challenging. Do not tell students, “This is easy,” or they will feel defeated if they fail the task.
- Be patient. Progress may seem slow. After a few months, you’ll notice some gains.
Praise and encouragement are important ingredients in helping students learn. Some phrases for complimenting specific behavior are:
- I like the way you explained that.
- That’s just great!
- I like the way you behave.
- You are really improving.
- This is nicely done.
- Show this to your parents.
- I like the way you are working.
- Much better.
- I’m proud of the way you worked (are working) today.
- That’s clever.
- Very creative.
- Good thinking.
- That certainly is one way of looking at it.
- Thank you for (settling down, being quiet, etc.)
*(Adapted From) Montgomery County School Volunteer Program- Handbook for Volunteers