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Entire Volunteer Journal

The first volunteering Experience at Monroe

I visited Monroe elementary school and volunteered. My volunteer work is to tutor and mentor to elementary school students. Since high school, I really would like to tutor and mentor mathematics. By this chance, I was very happy that I could volunteer what I've wanted. I love spending time with children by playing as well as helping them do assignments. That’s why I chose this volunteer work. But, I was worrying a lot because I've been here just for a year and English is not my mother tongue. My English may cause problems communicating with the kids. I was really nervous due to this fact. ‘Can I really help them?’ I can't teach or revise their writing, and other subjects except math. What if they hate me because I am not a native?
I arrived the school, and checked-in. I and some of other volunteers were waiting the students at the cafeteria. I signed up to volunteer for 5th grade students. When we first met, they were very funny. It was my first time to have a chance to talk with American kids. During first 2 hours, I was supposed to help them do their assignments. However, they didn't really ask questions. They were trying to solve their assignments by themselves. And they had gossips! Especially Gavin called King Gavin. He is very funny! I was very bad at memorizing English name. I don't remember even my classmates' names. But I was trying to memorize their name! I wrote their name on my note several times. I can remember Gavin, Riana, Alexia, Kira Actually these might be wrong spell. And they seemed to be interested in me!?! and next 1 hours , I was playing soccer with them as well as helping folding paper into various figures. I think I had a lot of fun. I really want to get along with them! I can not wait volunteering there. In my opinion, this would be a good chance to learn American culture. Today I was very excited! I cannot wait the next volunteer.

2nd volunteer

This was 2nd volunteer at Monroe community elementary school. This was more hard time than the last time. I was working for 5th grade students. We had homework time for the first 2 hours. They were doing their assignment, and when they had some questions, they asked to volunteers. I was trying to answer their questions. Because they are just 5th grade, Questions were not much difficult to answer. For example, they seemed to learn graph. One of students asked me what the title of this graph was. First, I was very embarrassed when he was asking because I didn’t remember instantly. But I knew the answer. I felt relieved and I taught him.
They were usually very gentle. However, they were saying inappropriate words in a classroom. They were not supposed to do that! For instance, they said “what the fuck, bitch and gay? When they said something about these thing, I was very embarrassed and didn't know what to say. I just said "No, you were not supposed to say that.". I had to learn what to say when they say inappropriate words!
Last time, I was trying to remember some students' name working with me, and they called my name! So I thought we were familiar enough each other to remember each others name. I expected them to at least remember my face. Unfortunately they did not! Because I'm going there biweekly, not weekly, it may be hard for them to remember me. I want to be a good friend with them. I really want to be better volunteer to them. After homework time, we were playing soccer. I enjoy playing soccer since high school. So it was pretty much interesting time
I believe I have to make my volunteer time worthy, even though it's tough as a foreigner and I am going to learn something through volunteer. It’s so interesting to volunteer at Monroe.

3rd volunteer

Today, Monroe school invited newspaper sports journalist who had graduated from northwestern university. Impressively he is a Korean like me. The reason why school invited him at Monroe was to make students understand sports journalism by talking with him. Students asked questions about sports journal such as why he decided to be a journalist, what kind of sports he liked to play, and if he had met any famous sports star, something like that questions. They seemed to be interested in sports pretty much, and they looked excited. I noticed big difference between Korean and American elementary students which is that commonly American students are crazy for sports such as baseball, basketball, football, while Korean students are not. American students are enjoying watching games since they were young. In school, one of their assignments is to write a relay broadcast. Sports are their favorite play. Even they are grown, they love sports, you know. When their state baseball team game is held, everyone is going to cheer up. In contrast, Korean kids don’t really like sports as much as Americans. After talking with journalist, we were taken pictures. And then we had elective class. I played sports with them; soccer and baseball. I think they are really good at playing sports. In my opinion it's very good to love sports since they are young. It’s very sound and healthy.
I went to Monroe elementary school 3rd time. I was thinking what volunteer means, because I was thinking what the hell I was doing there. I believe volunteer is to give a hand people who need help, so it's very worthy time. But when I went to Monroe school, I did nothing but just sitting and standing. I don’t think this was volunteering. They seemed not to need any help or assistant from us. Is it helpful for them that I volunteer for them? Have I spent worthy time as a volunteer? If not, I think I don't really need to be there. You know, I don't want to waste my time if there is nothing to learn from volunteer. The problem is the time was worthy to me as well as them, students. To just waste time is not what Ozayr wants. There must be something to learn. So far, I don't think I've found something. I feel it's time to do something.

4th volunteer work at Monroe
Today I was working for 3rd grade students, not a fifth students. I had worked for only fifth grade students before. When we met first time at cafeteria, they suddenly asked me to say some words like their name. They thought that because I was not a native-speaker, my accent was weird and funny. I just said what they wanted me to pronunciate over and over. I was little bit annoyed at that time, because they were making fun of me. It was OK. It's true that my English sucks! They seemed to be interested in myself, foreigner negatively. We and a teacher went to a classroom. For about 40 minutes, we had a time to complete their assignments. Students were solving some math problems which were something about a area of parallelogram. After that, I and students played a game about multiplication. We solved some problems together. A teacher talked about something. I don't remember exactly. During that time, a student was kicking me over and over. At first, I said just “Why? Stop kicking me, please ? but he ignored and kicked me over and over. I was fucking annoyed. I said "stop it seriously, please ", but again he didn't stop. He pissed me off, but I controlled myself, and went away from him. He was kind of trouble-maker and no respect for a volunteer and a teacher. They are too energetic to be controlled? They’re crazy! But also sometimes they're very kind and friendly. After regular after-class, I went to a gym to play sports with them as usual. We played a baseball. They were fast......I felt again that they were more energetic than I was. It was funny time as well as annoying time. I want to work again for 4th grade students

04/07/2008 5th Volunteer AT MONROE

This was my 5th volunteer at Monroe school. It's already April. Time really flies like arrows. I was volunteering for 4th grade students. It was different group from the last time 4th grade kids. There were 5 kids. At first we went to library. I introduced myself. They wanted to tell scary story. So we turned off all lights in library. Then, one of students began to tell scary. I did want to say a scary story. But I didn't know any scary story in English. After this, they had time to think about environment. So each student received articles which was written about global warming, recycle something like that. They were asked to read it, write main point of it and draw some picture about it. It was likely to help them to understand environmental problem, importance of environment as well as the point of writing, we were playing game like seek and hide in library. They looked so excited. I joined the game as well. I and some students went to gym to play sports. I played soccer with kids.
Today I felt that I was alone. Since when I was at Monroe school, everyone- volunteers, teachers, students- were American. I was the only foreigner. And I've been America just for 10 months. I could not express what I wanted to say instantly. Usually I was so silent. I was just sitting. When they needed help, just helped them. But other volunteers seemed to have fun with kids! They talked some jokes. To me it was pretty much hard to get familiar with kids. Some kids seemed to treat me as a weird person. I really wanted to participate in volunteer more enthusiastically. But I didn't really know what I should do.

04/21/2008 Volunteer

Today, I volunteered for the 4th grade kids. A teacher told me that we were going to have a mess. 4 students came to meet us at cafeteria; two of them were boys and others were girls. We went to Art class room. A teacher gave kids powder and some water. With teacher’s instruction, they were adding water into powder and molded to make it sticky like glue. A teacher provided them two balloons. Kids pasted papers and feathers with glue that they made on the balloon. It was really messy, but very interesting class. I did not know exactly what it was though. After art class was over, students had time for doing homework. Some kids who did their homework already made their own owl. They colored the owl, cut the owl by scissor and stick it. While doing this, one of students asked me about Korea. He wanted me to teach some Korean words such as Hi, How are you doing, and so on. When I taught Korean, they looked very having fun.
In a choice class, some kids and I went to outside instead of going to the gym. The weather was really nice. Some played soccer and others played basket ball.

This was my last time to volunteer at Monroe. It was such a good experience as well as a meaningful time. I do not know if I gave them some help (Maybe not). I regretted that I had not participated in volunteer work as hard as other had worked. Since it was my first volunteer at US school, honestly I did not know well how to say or what I was supposed to do there or how to get along with the kids easily. When they asked me something difficult, I was just embarrassed. While volunteering, I was trying to understand kids and help them as much as I could. Now I've experienced a volunteer and understood what volunteer is. In next time, I would do better.