Monday, March 4, 2013

Volunteer Spotlight With Nikki

Name: Nicole Bobrzynski
Hometown: Pittsburgh! I’m from Baldwin which is about 20 minutes south of the city.
School: Duquesne University
Major: Middle Level Education (grades 4 – 8)
How long have you been a part of the a part of the Brashear's after school programs: This is my second year with the program.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the students we serve: I think the biggest challenge our students face is continuing to get all of the support they need. I had the most amazing support system growing up in terms of school, friends, and family. I think our program really becomes part of our students’ support systems. I hope the kids think of me and the other volunteers and program leaders as someone they can count on.

What is one of the funniest things that has happened between you and our students: There are funny times everyday because our students are hilarious! Lately, one of the moments that had me laughing was on Wednesday when we played the fourth and fifth grade boys in “adults vs. students” dodge ball, which also happened to be girls vs. boys. The fun rivalry we had going on made the game so much more fun and the boys and us adults get really into it. Even though we lost to the boys a few times, I was laughing the whole time. 

How do you identify/adapt your learning style to our students various learning styles: This was tricky for me at first. I am a super hands-on learner and I like to collaborate about my work. So the hardest part for me was finding a student who was not hands-on or collaborative in the way they work. A few of our students really like to work alone and work things out best on their own. At first, this seemed to me like these students were not willing to accept help from others, but I realized that that’s just their learning style. Now I adapted my style of helping students in this situation by waiting until they come to me for help instead of pushing them.

What are some marks of successes you have seen with our students: I see marks of success every day. That is one of the most rewarding parts about tutoring and about teaching. My favorite successes are the small ones like when a student is struggling on a concept and they finally get it or when they have been working really hard to finish a homework assignment and they are able to get it all done. Our students take pride in accomplishing these things and I love knowing that with our support our students can be successful with their schoolwork.

What motivates you to come in everyday or the thing that you look forward to the most: This is the easiest question of them all to answer! The students motivate me to come every day. Like I mentioned before, the high energy and the welcoming greeting from kids as I walk through the door puts the biggest smile on my face. I have been given the chance to really get to know these students over the past year and a half and I love working with them. They are funny, creative, talented, smart, and caring students who teach me new things all the time. 


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