Volunteering in the Classroom

Publishing folks do it all the time — either as part of an organized group, adopting a school in their area or going to talk about how a book is made. I’ve done both these things, but since my sister is a teacher, I usually spend one week each December hanging out in her classroom.

When she taught Kindergarten (for over 10 years), this usually involved quizzing kids on their letters or helping them with math manipulatives — and always involved lots, and lots, of glitter on holiday crafts projects.

Now that she teaches 4th grade, I help the kids type and edit their writing, quiz them on their math facts — and there is usually a lot less glitter (although this year there was ooblek, which was a lot worse, in my opinion).

So, why do I spend a week each year covered in glue and goop and struggling to explain why MicrosoftWord has underlined a perfectly reasonable 4th grade sentence? Because, as I mentioned back in December, those of us who work in publishing, rarely spend time with actual children in their learning environment. I love hearing their thoughts, seeing their struggles, and since I’m not their teacher, I even enjoy some of their “attitudes.”

And every year I am reminded how amazing teachers really are — spending their time, their energy, their minds, usually their own money, and their hearts to empower kids (and sometimes score the winning goal at the school hockey tournament).

Thank you teachers!

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Volunteering in the Classroom