When my children were younger, I slowly took on volunteering tasks in their school such as helping on day trips, chopping fruit snacks and supporting teachers with plays and concerts.
I discovered by being involved in school life as a supportive parent, that I enjoyed volunteering, and specifically working with children. Once I found I had more time available when my youngest of three children started school, I volunteered to read with small groups in years 1 and 2. The teachers really appreciated it and I liked interacting with the children, knowing I was helping them improve their reading ability.
From being a stay at home mum for 10 years through the birth of my three children, I realised that the volunteering I did at school helped not just the children’s reading ability but my own confidence. As I was asked to do more volunteering tasks such as being in charge of the library and helping with after school netball, I decided to return to education to complete qualifications that I needed to become a teaching assistant. The teachers at the school really supported me and after just a couple of years from my first experience of volunteering, I undertook a temporary teaching assistant role supporting a child with special education needs. I grew in confidence and eventually got a permanent classroom assistant role, which I love.
I could not recommend enough volunteering in education. For me, although I initial did it to support my children’s school, I discovered I enjoyed it and it improved my confidence in getting back to the workplace then getting a job. Of course, the best reward is knowing you are helping children to improve their abilities and supporting teachers to bring out the best in them. I am sure there must be lots of people out there with specials skills they can offer a school, like after school sports session or even if they find themselves having some time available to make a difference by reading with children.