On March 21st 2016 I attended a PD event hosted by the E.S.S. which focused around community outreach. The original intent of the PD event was to inform 1st and 2nd year students on different ways to get involved; however, due to the lack of interest in the event I took the opportunity to ask questions on how the different organizations can be used in the classroom.
Big Brothers Regina was the first presenter, they provided two different perspectives on the involvement of a teacher in their program. The first is as a volunteer where they would dedicate their time to mentoring students that are not in their classes. However, teachers are often busy and it is hard for them to be able to commit the necessary amount of time to their little. The second option is by getting your students into the program as a mentee. Many students need to have a little extra support or guidance as preteens and teens are figuring out their identity and being successful with the constant pressures of success looming over them. There is a point when parents and teachers hit a wall and can no longer be the support the child needs, this is when the teacher can bring up the idea of contacting Big Brother/ Sister to be added to a wait list where they can be traditionally paired with a big who can mentor them in a positive way. There are also school sessions where students can meet in groups to discuss things in a safe environment.
The second presenter was from Regina Food Bank. Creating food baskets is something that my community did regularly; however, we never went through an actual organization. Learning about the different ways that I could get my future classes involved in their own community outreach was important. I would like to bring in my classes into the food bank and have them volunteer their time, this would give them the opportunity to experience giving back to the community, but it can also be tied in with different outcomes throughout the curriculum in many different grades. It is also important to know that if you hear about a student having difficultly getting proper meals, you can reach out to the food bank for resources and program information that can help the students.
Being a teacher is not only about teaching the outcomes through the use of a textbook, so many lessons can be enhanced through getting the students out of the classroom and experiencing different situations. Does it make more sense for student to hear about students that strive because they have access to a mentor, or to help to students get access to mentors are they need it? Is it better for a student to learn about community outreach through a textbook or to become involved in the community outreach process?