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Summer break has finally arrived and you are thrilled about the ridiculous amount of free time that is yours. So what’s a teacher to do? Sure, relaxing is good to a point, but you need something fulfilling and exciting and fun. Getting a part-time job may fill up your schedule, but it’s not likely going to be a life-changing experience where you get to be involved in a community or impact generations.
Then someone mentions how they spend their summer volunteering and you’re intrigued. What kind of volunteer opportunities for teachers even exist? Are they local or abroad? Are they education focused? The truth is that there are endless volunteer opportunities for teachers all across the world and they are completely varied in what they ask of you, meaning you are sure to find something absolutely perfect.
The benefits that come with volunteering over the summer are far-reaching for teachers everywhere. Not only will they give you fresh perspective on the world and various communities and cultures, but it can give you new insight into teaching techniques and methods. If you volunteer in a rural or low-income area, you’ll likely be inspired by the thirst for knowledge and the gratitude that is ingrained in the communities. If you volunteer abroad, you’re likely to experience some culture shock in a way that makes you incredibly appreciative of your home and your community and all the advantages you have in life. No matter what type of volunteer opportunity (or opportunities) you embrace this summer, be sure to make the most of your time and of every experience you have.
Rather than become a couch potato, check out these different types of summer volunteer opportunities for teachers and make use of the resources to find that perfect summer experience.
Teach English in a Foreign Country
This is probably the top choice for most educators when it comes to volunteer opportunities for teachers. There are countless nations across the world who love having Americans come into their schools and teach their students English. There are also so many organizations that help teachers connect with schools in need that you can simply do a Google search and find some great ways to volunteer in this way. It will help you out if you have any idea of where you want to go before you begin your search, but if you have no clue, just starting looking at some of the countries listed with these organizations and you’re sure to get some ideas. Argentina, Ecuador, Columbia, Costa Rica, China, Laos, Philippines, Uganda, Kenya, and Zambia are just a few of the many, many countries where you could spend your summer teaching. Check out Projects Abroad, IFRE Volunteers, and International Volunteer HQ for teaching abroad opportunities.
Volunteer Locally for Those in Need
Your area is sure to have some local organizations that serve the less fortunate in your community. Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, local food banks, and the like are all great places to spend some time giving back this summer. Maybe you get involved in an ongoing project, or maybe you just spend a few hours a week organizing shelves or filing papers for a local organization. Find a need in your community and do whatever you can to help improve the lives of others by volunteering in whatever way you can. Look at United Way, Create the Good, and Volunteer Match for local opportunities.
Visit the Lonely
This may seem like a small to-do, but visiting with someone who doesn’t often enjoy visitors can be huge. Find a local nursing home, go to a nearby hospital, or take a trip to your city’s homeless shelter. You may want to read to the elderly or schedule a time to perform with a musical instrument if you’re talented in that way. You might be able to enjoy an event at a nursing home or rehab center where you can connect with residents and just bring a little light to their daily lives. Hospitals are full of people without visitors who may be lonely, scared, and worried. Find out how you can serve those individuals and show them a little love this summer. Maybe you plan a game night at the homeless shelter or organize a charity drive to bring supplies to the homeless. Find people who need to feel loved and do whatever you can to meet their needs.
Go on a Mission Trip
You don’t have to be involved in a local church to go on a mission trip and make a difference. Maybe the “trip” is local and you can serve your own community. Maybe it’s to another city in the U.S. that has a big problem with homelessness or has recently suffered from a natural disaster. Maybe it’s a trip abroad to build an orphanage, dig a well, or teach adults how to read. Find something that lights a fire under you and that makes you passionate in the best ways, and go on a trip to make a difference. While local churches are probably the best place to start when looking for trips like this, many other organizations help fund and organize these trips, so be as specific as you can when searching for a trip, and then sign up and start making a difference.
Help with a Camp
Summer camps create incredible memories for kids, and they can be extremely educational and beneficial for kids of all ages. Maybe you help organize or plan a science camp at your local library, or maybe you help with the crafts at your local community center. Maybe you volunteer at a sports camp at the local high school or maybe you serve as a counselor for a sleepover camp in your community. No matter how big or small your role is, working at a camp is an incredible volunteer opportunity for teachers and it is sure to be fulfilling and significant, both for you and in the lives of those you serve over the summer.
Give Love to Animals
While most teachers are more passionate about working with humans rather than animals, there are the select few among us who are avid animal lovers. For you guys, embrace the animal-loving side of you this summer as you search for volunteer opportunities for teachers. You may want to head down to the local animal shelter and take some dogs on a walk or snuggle up with some of the cats. You might be able to get a volunteer gig at the local zoo or aquarium. If your sights are set on traveling abroad, there are so many places to work with animals while still getting in some fun and adventuresome travel this summer. Work on an elephant conservation project in Sri Lanka, help save sea turtles in Costa Rica, volunteer with monkeys and primates in Thailand or Guatemala, rehabilitate lions in South Africa, or save the whales in Madagascar.