More Volunteer Teachers Needed
When I worked as a teacher at a cram school, some students had to quit studying because they were unable to pay school fees. Even though they had a passion to study they couldn't learn anymore.
After realizing this, I decided to teach them as a volunteer. Many people know the need for volunteer teachers for poor children, but they do not know how valuable volunteering is. The volunteer work improves children's ability, benefits society and heightens volunteers' self-esteem.
First of all, there is the lack in education for poor children ― many can't receive adequate education. Even though they want to learn, they can't receive tutoring. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 36.5 million Americans were in poverty as of 2006. Most children from these families don't receive a normal education.
Even though we understand there is a great need to support poor children's education, the volunteer teachers are not enough. Potential volunteers don't know what or how to teach poor children and they are not confident whether they can help the children or not.
First, we can help students do well in school by teaching them as a tutor. For example, when I was a freshman, I taught middle school students at a regional volunteer center. There were over 100 children who did not have money or parents.
One of my students wanted to study more but could not receive a proper education due to financial difficulties. I helped her to improve her understanding about what she was learning in her school. As time went by, she became more confident with her studies and this improved her efficiency in studying. We studied together for a year and after that she became one of the top students in her class.
We can also help children to build good personalities by being role models to them. According to ``Big Brothers, Big Sisters,'' the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States, for every 100 adolescents in their program that use drugs, only 54 percent continue drug use after they are paired up with a big brothers or a big sisters. ``Minority boys and girls were the most strongly influenced by their tutor; they were 70 percent less likely than their peers to initiate drug use," the organization said. This shows the importance of being a role model for children through volunteer education work.
In addition, volunteer work can contribute to social improvement. According to the National Head Start Association, a private not-for-profit membership organization in the U.S, it benefits its children and society-at-large by reducing crime and its costs to crime victims.
By reducing the number of drug-using children, we can maintain social order as well as reduce crime. According to the American Psychological Association, childhood experiences impact the development of the brain. By reforming their attitude and improving knowledge, they can grow up to be a competent person, and they can contribute to society.
Volunteer teachers also can develop a strong sense of accomplishment. Even though many poor children don't have enough money, they have an enthusiasm for learning. Moreover, volunteers can heighten their self-esteem by educating needy children. Evan Peterson, a tutor in the Florida State University English Department, is teaching young children and young adults. ``After finding my volunteer work was very important for poor children, I felt that I too am an important person,'' he said. By participating in volunteer work, we can feel that we are accomplishing something by improving society.
Bob Berg who is working for Big Brothers Big Sisters said ``If you do not act, it is the same thing as not knowing.'' If you want to participate in student activities in Korea, you can join a volunteer club in your university or at a regional volunteer center. I strongly believe that these activities can strengthen our self-esteem and contribute to improving society.
Shin Eun-shil is a senior majoring in communication at Sookmyung Women’s University.