Teaching and volunteering


Al-Jazirah newspaper

In many countries volunteering is considered a foundation stone in schools. It’s common for stay-at-home moms to come to school during break time to help supervise children as they play.

According to a semi-official British agency concerned with the education sector, some parents dedicate 3 hours a week to volunteering in schools by either helping out with school activities or teaching.

Parents assist schools in a range of activities from reading short stories, helping children with math equations to supervising sporting events, art classes and vocational training.

College students who want to become teachers start looking for schools to volunteer in before their graduate so they can get some experience and increase their chances of getting accepted into a teaching diploma program that then allows them to land a job. These are all common practices that have their own regulations and procedures.

Volunteering helps these college students understand the mindset of younger students from the prospective of an outsider in an environment that is away from the routine and typical demands of a fulltime job.

Also, volunteers get to be mentored by real teachers and by interacting with a real school environment, they can judge and evaluate their own performance in a far more accurate way. In some cases, college students decide that teaching may not be for them, and this is again a reflection of the impact volunteering in a real classroom has.

This approach provides a chance to educational bodies to observe these volunteers who are future candidates for teaching positions and decide whether or not they are fit for the job. Volunteering is much better when it comes to determining a candidate’s suitability than a job interview, which is very limited in scope, especially when it comes to measuring the quality of an applicant.

I have previously pointed out the fact that teaching is an art form and talent before it is a job. Some people have it by nature; they are able to explain complex topics in an easy-to-understand manner, come up with the best examples and know when to elaborate and when not to.

They are able to clearly communicate with many types of people who differ in their way of thinking, age or mental capabilities. Regardless of their educational background, people who have this natural talent, thrive in the work place because they make it easier for people to understand them and know exactly what they want.

Many of these people would like to be teachers and upon retiring, they have few options in the education sector, which I think is a waste of talent.

Volunteering as teachers provides a chance for retirees or even those with flexible jobs to work part time in schools, offer students creative lessons and a refreshing outsider perspective. These creative teachers play a big role in schools once they participate in the educational process and can be a major source of inspiration for students.

Volunteering in educational field including teaching, student activities or administrative work is vital and an important addition to education that we are currently lacking. I hope these ideas are considered and implanted by the Ministry of Education.