We ask our volunteers to fill out one annual survey in May. Your feedback is crucial in telling us if what we are doing is producing the results for which we strive. We use the information for grant-writing/reporting and program development and to give us ideas on how to keep our valuable volunteers happy.
We thought that you would enjoy seeing the comments of your fellow volunteers and have highlighted a few tid-bits below. If you would like a copy of all results, please let us know.
Thanks for all that you do to make Intercambio and our community a connected place.
Rachel and Debbie
- 94% of you said that the support you receive from Intercambio staff is good or excellent.
- 92% of you said that the number of times Intercambio contacts you is about right.
- The following percentages of volunteers have achieved specific goals they’d had for volunteering with Intercambio. These figures are particularly important to us because they directly reflect our mission. As a result of volunteering with Intercambio, of those who responded*:
- 85% now better understand immigrant struggles. (up from 82%)
- 73% now feel more connected to the community as a whole. (up from 53%)
- 88% have formed an intercultural friendship. (up from 72%)
- 83% have improved their teaching skills. (up from 82%)
- 71% are more comfortable interacting with people from other cultures and language backgrounds. (up from 59%)
- We are proud to note that all of the percentages have increased since 2012. While we’d like to take responsibility for the amazing successes many of you are finding, we attribute this to the fact that nearly 70% of responders have been volunteering for more than six months. (We told you it’d take time!)
- Future in-service ideas: We put together a workshop schedule at the beginning of each year. It is our goal to offer an opportunity for teachers to gather and learn once a month. The following list will be considered for the 2014 workshop schedule.
- Culture This is a popular workshop and will continue to be scheduled annually.
- Pronunciation This is a popular workshop and will continue to be scheduled annually. We also plan to host a “part 2” of the May workshop in August.
- Teaching tips and homework ideas We hosted this workshop in November. Contact Rachel if you would like to go over the material that was covered.
- Immigration Information
- Discussions with other teachers Based on previous feedback, we now schedule quarterly opportunities to meet other teachers. The next one will be on July 11th at the Boulder office.
- Teaching grammatical concepts
- General comments (and our two-cents…):
- Getting support: While the majority of our volunteers are feeling adequately supported, there are a few of you out there who would like more! We strive to be easily accessible and (just about) always available, so please know that we welcome requests. Know that just because most of the communication coming from us is via email, we are not adverse to phone calls or in-person meetings. In fact, Debbie and I often meet with teachers one-on-one who request support on specific topics and we are happy to be available to do that. While we aim to steadily support our volunteers, there are lots of you. Our goal is to make contact with all volunteers once a month, in addition to the monthly newsletter – where you’ll learn about upcoming events, workshops and monthly resource/teaching tips. Attending our monthly workshops and events (advertised in the e-newsletter) is also a great way to meet other volunteers and feel more connected to the Intercambio community. Again, please also know that while we will contact you once a month, you are always welcome to contact us for support.
- More on-line resources: We have begun to regularly update our on-line resources. If you’re looking for a particular topic that we don’t cover, let us know and we’ll search one out for you. Or, if you have a good idea you’d like to share, let us know that too! You’ll find our resources on our website: https://intercambio.org/resources
- Library resources: At both offices, we have several supplemental activity books that can be checked out for up to three weeks. We are happy to “tour” teachers through the library, or feel free to come and browse on your own at any time. If you know what you’re looking for, we can leave books for you to pick up at your convenience. Or, even if you’re not sure, we can provide a few options.
- Conversation opportunities for students: Getting students to practice outside of class isn’t an easy feat. Several of you have requested conversation classes for your students. We love this idea and have tried it several times. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been successful in the past. We’re open to trying it again, but need your support. In order to gauge interest for this type of class, we need to hear from your students. Please encourage them to call and request this type of class.
- Book typos: Ugh! We know. While these books were edited by several people (including us!), you will still find typos. It’s easy for us to miss things, so we appreciate you pointing them out. As we re-print books, we are fixing typos. So far, we have “typo-less” versions of 1A through 3A.
- More exposure for Intercambio: We agree! We are always looking for ways to promote our program. If you’re hosting a party, we’d be glad to do a quick pitch for volunteering! We also try to partner with other organizations whenever possible. Our current partnerships include BVSD, St. Vrain Valley School District, Parenting Place, YMCA, Walnut Café, Sister Carmen, and Boulder Housing Partners. If you hear of a way for us to get the word out, or have ideas for other partnerships, please let us know.
- Literacy Level: We are working on putting together a literacy level supplement for our curriculum. While in the past, we saw very few illiterate students in our program, more and more students are coming to us with needs that we want to be able to fulfill. Expect to see something available in 2014. We are also available to support in the meantime. Let us know if you’re struggling with the level of 1A.
- Student progress: We know that the perceived lack of progress is discouraging – hey, we’re teachers too! The key is to keep things in perspective. For many of our students, the classes they have with you are the only structured opportunities they’re getting to practice English. Helping students set goals for practice is crucial – but make sure that the goals are realistic. It takes years to achieve fluency in a non-native language, so make sure you’re looking at little milestones, rather than the distance to the finish line. And, shall we point out that the Sistine Chapel wasn’t finished in a day.
- Lastly, remember that progress is not just about learning English. We track the goals of our students in the same way that we track yours. Here are a few highlights from our recent evaluations:
- 86% feel more confident going places in the community thanks to their English classes.
- 60% are more involved in their children’s education thanks to their English classes.
- 75% feel more informed about their community and the US thanks to their English classes.
- 80% have native English-speaking friends (up 26% from pre-assessments)
- 65% have a good understanding of US laws (up 31% from pre-assessments)
*In order to make the responses more useful for our reporting, the percentage identified is those that stated “agree” to the statements, rather than “disagree”, “neutral”, or “was never a goal”. These figures are based on the “pre-goal” inf