AmeriCorps member contemplates what makes Take Ten special

By Claire Roboski

As a professional who has been teaching at Title I (high poverty, “high-risk”) schools for four years, Take Ten was an easy transition for me. Teaching is my niche; it allows me to communicate openly with young minds and allows me to impart knowledge as well as personal experiences I had growing up. I became a teacher because my experience with education was NOT a good one. My patience, sense of humor, and honesty are what help me set the standard for my students and what allows me to connect with them. I share my own struggles and my own life experiences. I try to use the above qualities in Take Ten as often as possible. There are many similarities between teaching in the classroom and Take Ten after-school. However, what sets Take Ten apart is the fact that it is a time that is unrushed. The time is there for both the instructor/leader/volunteer and students to have fun (play a few ice breakers throughout the one or two hour session), share personal struggles or conflicts, brainstorm ideas/resolutions, and embark on a learning journey together. What I liked best about Take Ten was what I wish I had MORE in the general classroom setting: TIME TO LISTEN. When people (no matter if it my first graders, my Take Ten fourth or fifth graders, or even the adult women at Center for the Homeless) feel cared about and listened to, communication becomes that much easier. Problems are resolved more quickly because Take Ten provides the time to listen and to share thoughts. It provides a time to grow. I would recommend it for anyone looking to volunteer their time and for anyone looking to open themselves up to a learning opportunity. You will set out to help others, but I believe you will find you end up helping yourself in the process.

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