Improving Your Volunteer Experience


It is our responsibility to make your volunteering beneficial to our students, teachers and staff, but also interesting, stimulating and fun for you. It is your responsibility to communicate your satisfaction/disatisfaction, suggestions for improving the experience for you and us, and to fulfill your scheduled committments.

The items below, which we believe will help with our respective responsibilities, have been borrowed from other schools, and refined for our setting. We hope to implement most of them and and improve upon them all. Please help us with your feedback. (These items will be applicable mostly to "in classroom" or other academic volunteer assignments. However some will be appropriate for all assigments).
Matching Volunteer Opportunities With Your Interests and Availability

As part of the enrollment process we have devised an important set of steps to ensure that your volunteer experience is satisfactory to you, to the students, to the staff member(s) you may be working with and to the school:

1. A Volunteer Coordinator will:

  • Review your Project Application with you and reach out to discuss opportunities, which may match your background, Interests and time preferences and make recommendations to you.
  • Provide you with an orientation to the school including a School Calendar, a Map of the Campus, a list of staff with contact information.
  • Arrange a meeting with the Team or Staff Coordinator who would be "supervisor" for your potential volunteer activities.

2. Assuming there is a match, at your "first day at school" you and your "supervisor" should go over the information in the volunteer and staff "First Meeting Checklist".

3. Informal Review: After a reasonable period of time (a few weeks or month) the Volunteer Staff will discuss separately with you and your supervisor, how it is working out. If it is not working out for either of you, we will investigate a change in assignment or hours or both

It is in the interest of volunteers, staff, the school and particularly students, that the volunteer experience be positive and productive for all stakeholders. To this end we will use feedback instruments from time to time asking:

  • You to review your own experience in providing assistance to students and/or staff and/or the school
  • You to review the supervision provided by your supervising staff
  • Your supervising staff to review your assistance and his/her own supervisory performance
  • Both you and the staff to review the RMS volunteer program

But in the meantime we hope that you will keep in mind as you go about your assignments, the following questions:

  • Have I shared with my "supervisor" my skills and interests which might be useful in my volunteer service?
  • Do I make suggestions as to how I can be of further help?
  • Am I effective in helping students who have problems?
  • Do I make an effort to learn by observing the teacher and students?
  • Am I discreet and tactful in working with students and teachers, and careful to observe the rules about confidentiality?
  • Am I able to accept criticism?
  • When I am unable to come to school do I contact the school promptly?
  • Am I reliable and prompt?
  • Do I take advantage of training opportunities to enhance my skills as a school volunteer?
  • Do I share my enthusiasm for my work at school with friends and community members?

Similarly we will be asking your supervising staff to keep in mind the following:

  • Have I utilized the special skills and interests of the volunteer to enrich learning opportunities?
  • Have I planned for the time the volunteer spends with me so that time is used well and the volunteer feels a sense of fulfillment?
  • Have I permitted the volunteer, if s/he wishes, to work directly with students in tasks, which are rewarding to the volunteer, and the student?
  • Have I helped the volunteer learn new skills and take advantage of training opportunities?
  • Have I made the volunteer feel that he or she is a valued member of the educational team?
  • Have I sought out new activities to involve volunteers?
  • Have I expressed my appreciation often and made others aware of ways in which the volunteer enhances my efforts as a teacher?

Your experience must be satisfactory to you, to students, staff and school for you to wish to continue to volunteer and for the school to wish to continue your services.

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