Parent volunteer, Tam Crane, joined BSV this year simply because her son asked her to volunteer in his classroom! “It started with my son asking me to volunteer, but as soon as I entered the classroom it was a joy to connect with and support the students.” A couple of her inspiring moments include motivating children to learn across all differences and ability levels, and seeing her host teacher Lency Olsen use creativity, innovation, and a “6th sense” when teaching and connecting with her students. “It is inspiring to see the institutional shift from focusing on the best and the fastest students, to meeting and motivating kids at any level”.
Tam shared a powerful story about Reader’s Theater. In Reader’s Theater, students across all levels read and act out a story to improve their reading fluency. Students regularly help each other act out their roles and have fun in the process. She recalls a time when a student who struggles with reading felt confident enough to read in front of the class for the first time. “Everyone in the class rallied around this student. It was heartwarming to see the student, Ms. Olsen, and the other kids be so supportive and excited. It really highlights the love of learning and community built in Room 106 at Ruth Acty Elementary”.
Tam has attended multiple BSV trainings. “I don’t have a lot of time outside of a full time job and kids, but I make time for the training. I can immediately apply my learnings to the students in room 106, and my own kiddos!” Applying what she picked up from the growth mindset training, she has found success in reminding her students, including her sons, that just because they are struggling with something doesn’t mean that they “aren’t that good at it”, but rather they just “haven’t gotten there…yet”!
Crane has been in Berkeley for 5 years, and feels connected to her Ruth Acty community and Berkeley community as a whole more than ever before. ” I was surprised by how much value an adult can get out of volunteering. I highly recommend anyone to try it out if you have the opportunity.”