Go For It With Your Whole Self

My name is Hannah Zartman and I live in Lititz, Pennsylvania. I have just graduated from Warwick High School with the class of 2020 and am planning on studying virtually with West Chester University this fall.

During the fall of my senior year at Warwick, I was given the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic, with students from my Spanish class, to serve at the Outreach360 Learning Center in Monte Cristi. This week-long experience captured my heart, and I knew that this short-term trip would not be my last serving with Outreach360. After returning home, my family and I decided we would plan to travel to the Dominican Republic for a week during the summer of 2020 to serve again at the Learning Center. Due to the pandemic, those plans were changed, but without that detour, I would have never had the ability to be a part of Outreach360’s Remote Internship Program.

Throughout my time as an intern, I was blown away by the amount of information that was covered and fully grasped by our students in my class. After finishing the day with a reflection period alongside the rest of my fellow interns, I was left feeling so hopeful, excited, and impressed by our students and the pace and depth at which they all learned. I believe that this thoughtful learning is the result of a two-way relationship between the intern teachers and our students. The learning process would not have been able to happen without both parties contributing to the best of their abilities. I saw so much creativity, time, effort, and love poured out by my fellow interns into their lessons and classes each day, and I realized quickly the importance of a teacher’s attitude and the impact that a positive classroom environment can have in aiding a students’ academic success. I believe that the academic tools, positive and safe classroom environment, and care that was given to our students has allowed them to broaden their perspectives and opportunities, both in and out of the classroom, moving forward in life. I know that they will thrive and shine brightly, as they have done during my time with them, and will continue to do in their futures.

It is hard to articulate exactly all that I have gained from this experience as a Remote Intern. From a teaching standpoint, I have gained confidence in my abilities, grace towards myself when things do not go as planned, and a better understanding of what being a teacher means outside of instructing lessons. I attribute these newfound discoveries to my students, the rest of my interns, and my teaching partner because they first showed me grace, kindness, and patience during my internship. I am forever grateful for their impact on my development as a teacher. From a more personal standpoint, I gained an immensely broader and more mature perspective on our world, the many people that inhabit it, and the diverse ideas and beliefs held by individuals. This gain of worldly knowledge can be attributed to our daily conversations during our Leadership and Social Change class. In this space, my fellow interns and I were able to speak openly, without the fear of judgment for inadequate speech or differing opinions. It was simply a time of gaining an understanding for others and having conversations that are necessary to better understand all people, not just those who are similar to myself.

For those of you considering this internship experience, I say go for it with your whole self! What use is it to hold back and miss an opportunity that could positively shape you and others if you allow it to do so. The joy and love you gain from this experience is unmatchable and I so desperately want you to be able to be a part of all of the incredible aspects and moments that this internship has to offer! I am so excited that you have this opportunity, and I truly hope that you don’t allow it to slip by. You may be apprehensive or nervous, but remember that most worthwhile things in life are not always easy, but through the process, you find so much more joy and excitement than you thought was possible.

And to anyone feeling like you can’t do this because you’re “not a teacher”, know that is exactly how I felt before beginning my internship, but also know that everything you bring to the table; all of your abilities, creative ideas, and attributes are exactly what the students need in an effective teacher. You are capable of making an impact and giving opportunities to students, as well as learning from those students in the process! This is a beautiful experience that I don’t want you to miss out on; as one of Outreach360’s principles says “Jump right in”!

This Fall, Outreach360 is offering a unique two-way language learning internship. With just a two-hour commitment each Saturday for twelve weeks, you will provide our students with the valuable opportunity of speaking with native and like-native English speakers, and in turn, you will have the opportunity to practice and grow your Spanish skills. Learn more here.

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