Arrive at an ELI school with 100% of your energy and go home with less than half of it- I wouldn’t have it any other way though. Any regular volunteer would tell you about the pure dedication and patience required to help the children there but do not volunteer at ELI if:
1. You do not want to make a difference;
You have in your hands the grades of a child. If you are aware of the utmost importance of education, you would agree that volunteering in terms of educating an individual implies YOU are shaping, or atleast helping to shape the education, the life of a child.
2. You can’t be bothered with your leadership skills;
Remember how easy the job of a teacher used to look during your years of primary and even secondary schooling? Trust your experience at ELI to counter this idea- in the best way possible. Managing a class of ten to twenty children demands a whole lot of your attention. Be too strict and the children will get into a foul mood and will do the work out of sheer obligation; be too nice and the children will see you as a playmate and won’t even start the work. Knowing you’re the leader and showing it to them in a positive way is something each one of us has a unique way to do. This can actually give you an avant-gout of the real world out there.
3. You’re incompatible with the world and hate teamwork;
Liaising with the teacher and volunteers has shown me that I’m more tolerant than I thought. The walls of the different classrooms do not segregate us volunteers in the sense that we often help each other, we share teaching styles and often have the children moving to the other class to learn another topic in another subject. A family fits the definition of ELI more than a team.
4. You do not like hugs;
A simple nod might be how you greet people but get ready to be bombarded with ten pairs of arms around your legs or actually waist- if you’re a midget like me. This is how the little ones show love and appreciation. Not gonna lie, I was confused at first because who hugs people one has know for a day anymore?
5. You do not like flowers;
A sweet or a flower is the children’s idea of gift. I cannot count the number of days a child has a huge grin on his/her face and is hiding something behind his/her back. You’ll be asked to close your eyes and you’ll have a tiny little flower in your palm. They thought of you during the day:) This seemingly meaningless act shows that they appreciate the time and effort and care you dedicate to them each time you come at ELI.