I have always wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. The idea of being surrounded by different kids as a profession is something that ignites my soul. I cannot anymore remember when I started wanting to become a kindergarten teacher, but I know a big part of it was because of the book I read by Ines Bautista–Yao titled What’s In Your Heart.
Even though the book falls under the romance genre, what struck me was not the love story encompassing it, but the way the protagonist tries her best to guide the kindergartners in her class. Every time I read it, I see her profession as something I want to take hold of.
Although that is the case, that thought is something I have accepted that I can only vicariously achieve since my parents have instilled in my mind that a high-paying job is more valuable than an enjoyable one.
I find it saddening when I think about it before but I realized that I should not be saddened because there are a lot of ways I can be a kindergarten teacher not only through making it my profession. One example of those ways is through volunteering as an online teacher, which I recently did.
Last August 3, 2020, when I saw my senior high school batchmate share a post on social media related to volunteering as an online teacher, I hurriedly messaged her saying that I am willing to volunteer. I felt like it was a chance for me to be a kindergarten teacher, even if it is just as an online volunteer.
When I was messaged by a moderator saying “Hi teach”, I felt immense joy. I never thought that there would come a time that I will be referred to as a teacher. She sent me some promotional videos to orient me on what will happen and frankly speaking, I felt disheartened.
My idea of online teaching was far from the program I joined in. Instead of it being like a typical online class, it turned out to be just a Facebook Messenger-based thing. There were no video calls, just purely chat. Another thing that dismayed me was the fact that the kids I am going to engage with are not kindergartners, but 1st and 2nd graders.
Despite my dismay, I still pushed through with volunteering as an online teacher. Instead of making use of my time doing unproductive things (which my dad hates), I realized that it is better to allot some of my time to helping other people.
During my first day as a volunteer online teacher, which was August 6, 2020, everyone welcomed me warmly. In the chat group, they referred to me as “teach Aaliziyah”. The feeling was so heartwarming because even though I was just a new volunteer, they were all including me in their morning greetings.
Since the shift I took was in the morning, the majority of the people I engaged with in the group chat were mothers. They were the ones messaging me in lieu of their children. There were two activities in the morning namely daily devotions and games. As a volunteer online teacher, my task was to take screenshots of all the activities the kids have sent in the group chat. After taking screenshots, I must put it on the Google Docs file that was shared with me.
During the daily devotions, a moderator sent a bible verse to the group chat and the mothers shared the insights they have regarding it. Some of them accompanied their reflections with a prayer. Although they have different ways of expressing their prayers, the overall theme was safety and guidance in time of this pandemic.
During the games, the kids were tasked to draw something they can find in their homes. Some drew clothes, pets, and their own houses, but what struck me was the one who drew her mom. While I was taking screenshots, I cannot help but feel sentimental because, among everything she sees in her home, she chose to draw the person who gives light to it.
What I consider the highlight of my first day as a volunteer online teacher was when one of the mothers of the kids I engaged with messaged me. She told me how happy she and her kid was for my volunteering.
When my shift ended, I did not think that someone in the group would bother contacting me. Unlike other volunteer online teachers, I only knew about the program two weeks before its end. Because of that, the time I spent with the kids and their mothers were just short compared to the other volunteers.
I never thought I would be remembered, so it really brought me joy when someone from the group messaged me.
The second day of my volunteering happened last August 13, 2020. Unlike the first one, there was not much of engagements. The class still had daily devotions, but because their summer graduation is scheduled on August 15, 2020, instead of games, the activity that they did was read messages from volunteers.
My shift ended at 12 pm, but during the afternoon some of the mothers mentioned me in the group chat. It turned out that the afternoon shift activities for that day included thanking all the volunteers who had been with them since the start of the pandemic.
Although only a couple of the people in the group chat remembered to include me on their thank you notes, I was still happy because they made me feel that I was part of it all.
Thank you for reading! I appreciate it a lot.
I was supposed to accompany this blog post with pictures and screenshots to show what happened during my volunteering day, but I signed a contract prohibiting me to do such things. Because of that, I have decided to try as much as possible to vividly express how it went. I hope I managed to do that.
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