There’s a new volunteer profile on our Spotlight page. Please take a moment and get to know Alejandro Dominguez, a 6th grade Reading Classroom Coach. Check out his video from the Spotlight page too.
I met Alejandro during a Classroom Coaching training session. Everyone who works at Austin Partners in Education also volunteers. I signed up for 6th grade Reading Classroom Coaching.
As training started, I found myself a combination of nervous and excited about the experience, not sure exactly what to expect. The two-hour training really walks a person through the process step-by-step. We learned about our role, how 6th graders view the world, and how to interact with them for the best outcomes. Our program coordinator Jannette also took us through our curriculum notebook we use each week with the kids.
Alejandro was at the same table as me for training, so we were in the same group when it came time to role play as 6th graders. I learned a lot from that experience as Jannette played the part of coach with us ‘kids’. And, we laughed. Ends up we are both pretty funny as 6th graders.
Alejandro is a second-year coach, and kindly offered observations and advice that bolstered both my confidence and my understanding. After training, volunteers go the school a few days prior to the first coaching session and meet the teacher. Alejandro was there that day as well, supportive and optimistic as usual.
And, as the ten of us stood outside the classroom door on our first day as real life Coaches, he just smiled and talked about how we were all going to come out of that door in 45 minutes smiling about how great the experience feels. He was right, of course. I’ve never seen a group of grown-ups beaming grins like we were that first day. We seem to come out smiling every time. It leaves you with the knowledge you’re making a difference.
Coaches meet for five to ten minutes before and after each session to support each other and share ideas. Alejandro will continue to mentor me as a coach as we work together in the classroom for the year. It’s great to build the relationships with the kids, but it’s also really neat to build friendships with the other coaches like him, LouAnn, Victor, Madeline and everybody.