Although she had a full-time job and a 13-credit hour load this semester, Childhood Education and Family Studies student Kristin Lierz still took on the challenge of service-learning. She made an impact at Robberson Community School, where she helped teach Math to 2nd and 3rd graders. While she was only required to complete a minimum of 40 service hours, she spent 60 hours at the school because she enjoyed being in a classroom and loved working with the kids. She recently shared more information about her service-learning experience.
1) Why did you choose to take on service-learning?
I decided to do service-learning because I love working with children or students, and this semester I didn’t have a practicum or something for a class to put me in the classroom. Also, the staff who presented about service-learning in my MTH 360 class mentioned it is a great resume builder, as well as getting connections, which I have to say is a plus in doing it.
2) What interested you about being involved with Robberson Community School?
I got interested in Roberson Community School because I really like being in a classroom and wanted to work in Title 1 schools because I grew up in that kind of environment. I also wanted to learn more about what a community school is.
3) How was your experience?
It has been really amazing. I would recommend this to a friend or anybody who is interested in service-learning. I learned a lot and the teacher I’m helping taught me things that I would use in my future classroom, as well as in my education classes at Missouri State University.
4) What kind of things did you do at Robberson Community School?
I pretty much worked with students in small groups or sometimes individually. One time we had a substitute and she wanted me to try and teach the lesson; there was a teacher there for support but she wanted to see if I could handle it, and I think it went well. The students understood the information in the lesson.
5) What did you enjoy most about working with this program?
I would have to say the students are the reason I chose to do this and they are the reason why I’m in the field of teaching. Also, the staff at Roberson Community School are super nice and very comforting. Every day that I went in to the school, the principal was there to greet me, and the staff always said hello and smiled. My teacher whom I worked with is a pretty incredible person. She and I have bonded and she taught me a lot. She’s a very positive role model in my educating experience.
6) Why do you think the work your organization is doing/issue it is addressing is important?
Roberson Community School is addressing the importance of education, as well as helping others by being warm, caring and providing resources to those who need them. One of the reasons why I like this school is the way they relate and understand their students and community. The people who work here are not only very helpful, but they are also very kind and I think the community needs kindness more than anything else.
7) How has being involved in service-learning and this particular program helped you understand your coursework better?
It’s easy for a student to remember all of the Math concepts, but it’s hard to teach them in the classroom. This program has taught me how to apply the concepts in the classroom, and also try to keep the classroom management proportion. So I’m not only learning about things for MTH 360, but a combination of all of my classes together.
According to Jennifer Carnahan, the 2nd & 3rd grade teacher who supervised Kristin, Kristin was a “gift from God” as this was her first semester teaching at Robberson and she was looking for an aid in her classroom.
“Kristin has been a real help. The students at our school are a bit fragile so the reliability of the professionals in the building is extremely important. She went above and beyond in this area. She showed up every day and always stayed longer than scheduled to finish whatever she was doing with the individual student. The kids loved her and she built a relationship with them.”