What started out as a Google search for teaching opportunities quickly evolved into Jaylene’s journey as a volunteer instructor in the LEX Program. Jaylene began teaching at CCI-LEX a little over two years ago, noting the big difference going from teaching a high beginner class online to teaching low beginner students in-person.
Being only 19 years old when she started teaching at CCI-LEX, Jaylene recalls the difficulty she faced as a younger teacher: “My biggest worry was that I wasn’t going to be taken seriously by students.” However, her worries disappeared as she realized her students’ respect towards her along with their firm commitment to not only attending each class but giving their best effort: “Because they’re adults and they just moved here, they care a lot about coming to this school and they’re trying their best. That contributed to them listening to me, which I really appreciated. It increased my confidence and helped me build rapport with them so I could talk to them more freely.”
Every volunteer has different reasons why they continue to give back. For Jaylene, the gratification lies in seeing her students’ progress, especially those who initially displayed shyness but gradually became more self-assured throughout the semester.
Jaylene regards consistency along with being empathetic, listening actively, and being adaptable as the key to making a connection with her students. These qualities have helped her students open up to her, with some returning to her for help after they’ve advanced to higher levels: “I had one instance where one of the students I taught in the fall semester moved onto the next level, and in the winter semester during a break time, he came and asked for my help because he didn’t understand. It was rewarding because it demonstrated that the students had trust in what I say and that I did a good enough job of teaching them beforehand that they want to come back to me for guidance.”
“We always need more teachers,” Jaylene adds, so to any new, seasoned, or aspiring teachers, “it doesn’t hurt to try different ideas and approaches. Ask the students for feedback because they are the ones on the receiving end.” CCI-LEX will always welcome volunteer teachers no matter the experience or walk of life!
When Jaylene isn’t teaching, you can find her in her element solving puzzles, going for walks, or snuggling with her cats!