Saturday, July 07, 2007

What kidsREAD taught me

This cute girl is in my kidsREAD class and has made good progress in her kidsREAD journey. I was a little bit disappointed that she has not been appearing in my class since the second half of the term has started as I think she can continue to benefit from our reading program and the volunteers can teach her. She has good attitude and is a very fun-loving girl. Her elder sister was also in the program.

What kidsREAD taught me
Life as a volunteer comes with its ups and its downs. Lack of attendance of a child or withdrawal of a child from the program can be due to many factors and not just yourself. Hence, I learn not to take things personally when it does not go my way.

On the contrary, when you see that you are making a real difference in the children's lives, there is a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. It takes time for progress to show up as the children will grow at their own pace. Some of them pick things up very fast, some less so. You need to have determination to see things through even if you do not always get to see the result.

One of the challenges in kidsREAD that I encounter is being able to see visible improvement in my children's reading abilities. Most of the children's time are spent in primary school where the mainstream education system is in charge of their development. The other major part of their lives are spent at home with their family and that is where parents' and siblings involvement in the children's education yields returns. My kidsREAD class is only one hour on Saturday mornings. What can that one hour do? :-)

Having been a volunteer with the Chinese Development Assistance Council for the last six to seven years has taught me patience. While we may not see the immediate results from our efforts, I truly believe that if you do the best that you can and pour some of your life into the children, they will benefit in some ways no matter how small. :-)

Teaching kidsREAD also hones my skills in interacting with children. I now realise I am more relaxed with my class partly because I am familiar with the children. But I also start to relate to them at their level. If they throw tantrums in class, I do not lose my temper. Instead, I throw a mock tantrum back at them and this usually allows them to see how they are behaving. I also learn to interact with the children, allow them to speak and interrupt me sometimes so that there is interactivity. Children get bored very fast and having a two-way communication during the class helps the children get interested in what is happening.

Would you like to learn how to work with children in a reading program? Leave your email in the comments page and I will get in touch with you!

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