Volunteering Ideas: Be a Guest Presenter

volunteering ideasWith so many people concerned about our educational system today, it is time to get more citizens into the classroom. Acting as a guest presenter in your local school is a great way to add a fresh face, new information, and an enriching experience for students.

There are several reasons for parents and other community members to consider being a guest presenter as one of many volunteering ideas. First, teachers will appreciate having someone else sharing their students for awhile and a happy teacher makes for a good learning environment. Secondly, you will come away with a better understanding of what goes on in your local schools. Walk in the teacher’s moccasins for an hour and you will surely have a new perspective.

Also, as we know, there are many people out of work right now and if you are someone who falls into that category, using a bit of your extra time to enter the classroom would surely be a rewarding experience. Having children interested in your talents and knowledge can give an out-of-work person a well deserved ego boost. Most of us have experiences and knowledge that can benefit others. Telling your story about what you do and how you do it will entertain others and bolster your pride.

If you are a business owner, this can be a great way to promote your business. For example, I knew of a dentist who spoke on dental care, and then left a pack of dental floss decorated with her logo and phone number.

To speak to a class, first think about what skill or experience you might have to share with a group of students and then look at your skills from a different perspective. Tell the students what you like about your occupation, what makes it difficult, try to bring a visual with you, such as an object from your work which children may find interesting. Remember to keep it simple and age appropriate.

Children will especially remember you if have a small something from your place of work to leave with each of them. This is not always practical and should be approved by the teacher beforehand.

Contact your local school and begin by asking the office staff who you should speak with in regard to arranging a classroom visit. Teachers will usually look through the upcoming curriculum and find a spot to tie in your profession or skill with what the students will be learning.

You do not need to actually write a speech or make a lot of work for yourself, rather put together ideas of what you think students would be interested in learning about your occupation and then leave time for questions, you can easily fill 30-45 minutes without having to give a lecture.

My father was a  glass artist and my mother worked with him for many years. She said it was a pleasure for them to explain the art of glass to classes. They were once invited as a small part of a medieval history lesson plan. My mom gave each child a glass glob “dragon tear” and received a number of treasured thank you notes.

Then, a couple of years ago, I was contacted by a young man who said he was trying to find my dad. He said he came across a website my sister and I had created following our parents’ tragic accident. The man said when he was in 6th grade my dad was a guest presenter at his school. He said my dad had impacted his career choice and had always wanted to thank him… but what happened next provided even more motivation for him to find my father.

The young man had recently bought a house and upon remodeling and removing a wall he found a hidden window of glass art lodged between the two walls. Then upon digging up the backyard, he found an old slab of concrete that had once been a basketball goal. Written in the concrete was my father’s name. It was at that point he knew he had bought the house of the man who impacted his choice of career–my father’s house from many years ago, which still held a piece of his art hidden within the walls.

Taking the time to visit a classroom can be rewarding for you and the students who will learn something new. Perhaps one of those students will make a future career choice or choose a hobby based on what you teach them. At the very least, you will have a better understanding of our current educational system and the children will have a better understanding of the world around them.

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