For my community project I volunteered at a foodbank. I found this to be an eye opening experience and I did not know what to expect. In high school I had been part of organising and collecting donations for a foodbank but I did not realise how much work goes into running a foodbank. A foodbank is a place where people can go when they are in desperate need of food and other essentials, they go when they are in a crisis and there can be various reasons of why people need to utilise a foodbank. It is a non-profitable, charitable organisation and there is a lot of information on on the Trussel Trust website on ways to donate and help out.
I was firstly shown around the foodbank and was pleasantly surprised at how much food and other necessities they had and were able to give to the people who need it the most. I signed a form to say I would only enclose information if it was necessary. I felt this made a link to teaching as when I am a teacher I will have the responsibility to pass on any information to a specific person who can give me advice if I was worried about a pupil for example. This requires confidence and is a very important skill to have as a teacher, especially in difficult situations. I did not realise how much information was out there surrounding foodbanks and also how integral the volunteers are. There are three main roles that contribute to helping the foodbank run smoothly and efficiently. The first role is a support worker, this involves meeting and greeting people when they come into the foodbank and being ready to talk and encourage people. The second role is hospitality, this involves making people tea and coffee and providing biscuits whilst they are talking to the support worker and this makes the environment feel safe and welcome. The third role is distribution, this involves preparing the bags of food for the people whilst they talk to the support worker. All of these roles are essential and shows the importance of working together as a team and this relates to the UWS graduate attribute of being collaborative. This skill is necessary at this foodbank and will also be a skill necessary for me to have as a a teacher as I will work with many different people. During my time at the foodbank I did a bit of food distribution and and was also trained how to do the IT part of the role as information needs to be put onto the system. I enjoyed doing this as everyone worked together to get the bags together with the necessary items that were on the list. It was a very rewarding experience as everyone was so thankful for your help and it felt like I was making a small contribution to make a difference.
I feel within the primary school pupils could, if they were able to, bring in essentials for a foodbank and also learn about why it maybe necessary for people to utilise them. However, this could be a very sensitive subject depending on the pupils that are in the classroom and I would consider this before discussing foodbanks in the classroom. Pupils could even make up boxes of food at Christmas time and deliver them in the community. An experience and outcome that I felt related to this was “I can consider ways to look after my school community and can encourage others to care for their environment”. Although this mentions the environment, it doesn’t always have to concern nature, which I learned in a lecture on this module, it is everything around you, like the community and pupils going out into the community and looking after people could be a very positive experience for them.
I feel that reflecting on an experience like this is very important as it made me realise how lucky I am and it also gave me ideas of ways that I am able to help the people who need it the most. Brookfield talks a lot about critical reflection. He says ” it grounds not only our actions but also our sense of who we are as teachers in an examined reality; we know why we believe what we believe.” (Brookfield, S, 2017, P81). I feel that this is an important skill to have as a teacher as I will always be reflecting on my lessons for example, and looking for ways to improve these if necessary. Being able to reflect on experiences like this will be useful for me in the future when I become a teacher.
Scottish Government, Education Scotland, 2017, Curriculum for Excellence: Social Studies experiences and outcomes. (online). Avaliable at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/social-studies-eo.pdf
UWS Graduate Attributes 2018. Avaliable at: https://www.uws.ac.uk/current-students/your-graduate-attributes/
Brookfield, S, (April 2017). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. Second edition. Publisher: Jossey Bass. P81.