We just couldn’t resist posting this story from Madge Wilson, Experience Corps volunteer at Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle School #53 in Charles Village. Ms. Wilson works with the third graders at Margaret Brent and has been with the program for several years.
Experience Corps places adults over 55 in kindergarten through third grade classrooms in public schools throughout Baltimore City. These older volunteers, who spend at least 15 hours per week in the classroom, act as a calming force in an environment where children tend to bring a great deal of baggage with them to school. In addition to helping one-on-one with reading and math, Experience Corps members are trusted adults to whom the students often confide their struggles and joys. To learn more about the program or get involved, visit our website.
Here is Ms. Wilson’s story account of her recent experiences at Margaret Brent:
First thing when I enter the classroom I say “good morning.” I try to observe [the children] before I start helping with math or reading.
This one little boy is always disrupting the classroom. After working with him for a few weeks I could see a little change. One morning when I came in, the first thing he greeted me with was “I was good this morning!” “Great!” I said, “let’s keep it that way for the rest of the day.”
Some may give you a hug, and some don’t want to speak. It is not always easy, but with a lot of encouragement we can make it. Another morning this little girl was not looking happy. I went and asked her if she was sick. Her answer was “no,” then she looked up at me and said, “Ms. Wilson, my grandfather died.” I went and told the teacher, and at the end of the day with the teacher’s permission I told the children that they should give her a hug. That put a smile on her face. Despite their behavior, behind their little heads they know that you are there to help them — and that’s what counts.