My name is Jayne Miner. I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and just recently finished my freshman year of high school. This summer's remote internship was my first experience with Outreach360. I got involved with Outreach360 through my Global Studies teacher who recommended this internship as a great experience and learning opportunity to participate in while we were all sheltering at home. Tentatively, I signed up, unaware that this would be such an inspirational and eye-opening experience.
To me, being an Outreach360 volunteer means being a teacher and a role model for the students. You are a bridge between them and countless opportunities that education brings them. With everything that is going on in the world, one might view virtual teaching as a less effective method when compared to in-person teaching. However, I believe that the opposite is true. I was able to have just as strong of an impact on the students as if I were there, whether it was introducing them to biology for the first time, reinforcing good classroom etiquette, or simply being a guide for them. Throughout this experience, I gained an understanding of how students learn and how to teach more effectively. Simply lecturing for 40 minutes is not effective, and that is why playing games, doing projects and discussing questions as a class was so important.
Not only was I fortunate enough to be a teacher to my students, but I was also able to be a student myself. Whether it was taking virtual tours and history lessons about the Dominican Republic, discussing serious global matters in Leadership and Social Change (LSC), or even learning fun traditions from my students, I learned so much.
Being a French student for nine years, the thought of trying to learn Spanish never occurred to me. However, thanks to this internship, I have a strong foundation to further learn Spanish. I was able to learn about the history of Monte Cristi and the Dominican Republic, as well as learning about their lifestyle and traditions (baseball, dominoes, cards, and more). This was one of my favorite parts because even though I have never been there before, I feel a little bit like I have. Through LSC, I was able to discuss current events and big issues going on in the world, as well as how I could help or become an ally. I really enjoyed this because I could speak about how I felt or ask serious questions, without feeling judged, thanks to the safe, friendly environment that was created. Another reason I really enjoyed this session was that I learned how to have respectful disagreements and conversations with others as well as how I can educate myself. When it comes to what I gained from teaching these students, I can't stress how much I learned. I learned the importance of patience, hard work, respect, gratitude, and so much more. Overall, I feel as if I am more of a global citizen than I was when I started this internship, and that is something I am really grateful for.
If someone were to ask me if they should consider participating in a program with Outreach360, I would say: 'What are you waiting for?' Sharing your knowledge and experience with students who value it so much is the greatest thing in the world. Whether your time teaching/volunteering be a short time or long, you are making an impact on their lives forever. I have learned so many valuable things and made so many memories from this experience that I will never forget and will hold near and dear to my heart. Do it!
For more information on Outreach360's virtual internships, please visit www.outreach360.org/virtualimpact.