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Logistics and communicating with teachers and group leaders

Tips for volunteers when communicating with teachers and group leaders
[MIKE] Getting in touch with the teachers is sometimes a little bit difficult because obviously for the bulk of their working
day, sort of round about half past eight through till about 3:00, they’re very fully committed to their teaching requirements. [Louise] So there’s a variety of ways that I may talk to the school before I turn up, and that depends on time constraints and preferences, and what I’m planning to do. So it may be an email conversation, a phone conversation, or I may actually go and meet the school in advance. [Tina] In my pre-meeting I’d like to establish what age group I’m working with, how many children there’ll be in the classroom. What resources would be available to me to undertake a task of any kind. And how many teachers would be available for the lesson as well.
So what sort of ancillary support I have. [Louise] Who are you actually going to be talking to on the day? Because you may be talking to someone different. You may be talking to the person in charge of organizing STEM events, who may not be the teacher you’re going to be actually working with on the day. And you can turn up at the school and say, I’m here to meet Mr. So and so, and they’ll say, but he’s not here today. [Jamie] In this case, with the chocolate, I had to ask if there were any allergy problems. I couldn’t have children having nut allergies or milk allergies in the room for obvious reasons.
People that maybe needed special needs, so if they needed to be at the front of the class, if they were disabled, anything like that. Obviously you needed to know what kind of equipment would be available to me while I was on site. [Kerry] Ideally from a teacher’s point of view, it’d be great if the ambassador could come in maybe the week before, have a chat about what they’re gonna do. And we could give them any constructive feedback about how we’d want them to change it, or appeal to our pupils. That’d be perfect.

Opening an effective dialogue with the teacher, group leader or other educator you will be collaborating with is a critical component in the volunteering process. We strongly recommend that you become part of a formal programme supporting volunteers, as they will have excellent links with schools and youth groups.

We’ve looked so far at the way you can link your practical activities to curricula and how learning outcomes will be useful in focusing your activity. Besides understanding the type of activities you can get involved in and how these might link with your interests and interests of the educators, it is easy to overlook the need to focus on the detail of the arrangements for the activity and the logistics involved.

We asked some experienced STEM Ambassadors to share their thoughts and experience with us of working in schools and logistics involved.


Make a note of the logistics and communication issues in the video which the STEM Ambassadors highlighted. Can you think of any they have missed?
Share your ideas with other learners.
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Volunteering in the Classroom: Planning and Organising Practical STEM Activities

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