Sunday, May 9, 2010

Trials and Travails with Volunteers

"Oh, dear. How do you get rid of a volunteer?"

This is not the refrain that you want to hear as an AmeriCorps member. However, I recently had the tremendous luck of being assigned a volunteer (by my supervisor, no less) that left her last volunteer position rather inelegantly (i.e. she chewed an elementary school child out, and then left).

Now she is working with one of my impressionable, sensitive second graders. I can't help but dread every session, wondering if I'll need to leap over to the next cubicle to break up a verbal beating. My Wednesday afternoons are tense affairs.

I'm all for second chances. I just wish that they could occur with a little older child, who isn't quite so impressionable. Think of an eight year old. Ponder just how vulnerable they are to rejection and harsh words. Words can really stick with you, especially when they're delivered by someone older, who acts as a teacher or a tutor. One misstep, one crucial miscommunication or mean-spirited word can really injure a child.

Am I mean for not wanting to chance this volunteer?

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