See what these college students discovered about teaching and themselves by assisting TFA corps members in their virtual classrooms.
Diane Hu is a current junior at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, double majoring in Finance and Accountancy. Daniel Wronski is a freshman at Macaulay Honors College, majoring in Biochemistry. When Diane and Daniel applied to be One Day volunteers, they knew they were entering a completely different realm — virtually assisting Teach For America corps members in the classroom.
What they didn’t expect was what they’d learn about themselves and what it really takes to be an effective and engaging teacher. Hear what our volunteers had to say about their experience in the One Day volunteer program.
What projects did you help with in the classroom?
Diane Hu: During my volunteer experience, I was able to create a website that mimicked an online library for students who are currently learning at home. My host teacher and I wanted to focus on providing diverse and representational books for his students, so I included topics such as race, LGBTQ+ awareness, etc.
How did your experience in the OneDay volunteer program shape how you look at education?
Diane Hu: My experience was overall amazing. I got to work closely with my host teacher and learn from him. I was working on a project that I was so passionate about and driven to complete. Throughout my experience, I got to learn from the resources provided from TFA about educational inequity. Also, by working with a TFA corps member, he was able to jump on calls with me to tell me more about his passions about educational inequity and what he has learned so far during his TFA experience. By creating an online library for students, I got to learn why children's books are so crucial for students' understanding of the world around them.
What skills did you gain/build from volunteering?
Daniel Wronski: I built the skill of interpreting sources and tailoring them to different students’ levels of understanding.Nothing too easy or too hard. My project required me to Google search "How to write essays" and filter out materials that were appropriate for K-12 students. In the process, I learned how to interpret the sources, create writing templates, write an essay with a variety of structures and speak to the class as someone with the knowledge, not as someone wanting to learn something.
What did you most enjoy about this experience?
Daniel Wronski: I enjoyed helping students who likely felt disconnected during the pandemic. It can be very hard to know if you're doing the right thing with your studies when learning goes virtual. That's why I found it very rewarding to help out my placement teacher's students in a time like this. I also enjoyed meeting people from other parts of the country and seeing how similar the education systems and learning processes are between my city and other people's cities.
And just like that, an immediate and impactul difference was made in students’ and teachers’ lives. If you’re interested in volunteering in a corps member’s classroom, stay tuned for when the next One Day Volunteer application date.
What is the One Day Volunteer Program:
OneDay Volunteer Program matches volunteers with Teach For America corps members teaching grades K-12, providing support for teachers and leveraging volunteers’ unique skillsets. As a volunteer, you’ll have the chance to work on classroom projects and may engage with students virtually while gaining insight into teaching with Teach For America.