Thanks to our volunteers this school has a very international atmosphere. Firas from Tunisia, Florian from Germany, and Dasha from Ukraine help children practice their English and become more interested in other cultures.

Dasha, Florian, Firas and Rafael

Some of our volunteers work in primary schools as English teaching assistants. Today, 15th of June, we visited Firas, Florian and Dasha to get to know what they have been doing in Zespół Szkolno-Przedszkolny nr 11 in Krakow. Thanks to our volunteers this school has a very international atmosphere. Firas come from Tunisia, Florian from Germany, and Dasha from Ukraine.

Dominika, the volunteer coordinator, introduced us to the school and the various tasks that the volunteers usually do. However, we should visit the school’s classrooms to learn about their work. In the way, we also have met some teachers or students. We also see how they know everyone in the school and how close they seem to be to the children, laughing and greeting them.

Our young volunteers usually work individually with the different English teachers. They get children to practice English conversation and improve their oral expression. For this purpose, they usually take part in the classes helping the children with the exercises and encouraging them to participate in the classes. They also have created bonds with the children, knowing their names and trying to build long and mature relationships. Their work is not only in the formal education, but also in the non-formal one giving the children a parallel role model to the teacher in the school. They work with all the levels in the schools from seven to fifteen years old.

Dasha also have some different tasks from her colleagues. As there are a lot of Ukrainian children in the school, she also tutors the children and helps them to integrate. Sometimes she just plays with them when they are alone or accompanies them when they are not feeling well. Helping children is easier when you can speak their language, especially when they do not speak Polish well and they feel somewhat displaced.

Teaching, learning and living

Continuing with the visit, they show us the gym, the playing room, the corridors, and several classrooms. Even if their work takes place in the English class, they have free access to the whole school and sometimes they help other teachers with special activities. These activities are very varied from being the jury in a “Tortilla” competition to accompanying children on school trips. During this year they have gone several times to museums, theatres, or cinemas, as well as more special trips to Auschwitz or Katowice. In addition, Florian organized a presentation about Berlin before doing a long trip to the German capital.

Despite not having a background in education, this volunteering has helped them improve their soft skills. They have learnt to talk with children, establish long relationships and improve their English level. A volunteer is that at the end, a way to learn new things of the society you did not know before and grow as a person and as a citizen.

Thank you, Firas, Florian and Dasha, for sharing with me your experience.

Thank you, reader, now you know a little more about our organization and about what a volunteering is.

Written by Rafael Fernández Castillejos