Welcome to JA's FAQ page!
This is your resource for answers to questions and helpful hints to make your JA volunteering and teaching experience the best it can be. If you have something that would help other volunteers or if you see something we missed, let us know about it and we will post it here for others to use too!
How Do I Get To The Facility?
Junior Achievement of Chattanooga is located at 5721 Marlin Road, Suite 3400, Chattanooga, TN 37411. We are located in the office buildings near the Brainerd Wal-Mart.
From Brainerd Road: Turn onto Greenway View Drive as if you are going to go to the Brainerd Wal-Mart. Stay in the right lane, and when you see the Murphy gas station on your left, turn right onto Marlin Road. Take the third parking lot entrance on your right (marble sign will say 6100 Building). If you reach the stop sign, you’ve gone too far. You will see the JA office directly in front of you once you turn into the lot.
Can I Volunteer If I Do Not Have Teaching Experience?
Yes, you have LIFE experience and that is the greatest value you bring to the classroom. We provide materials, training, and ongoing support as you enter the school world. You provide personality and breathe life into the concepts. You are essentially a living role-model for students to emulate.
Can I Still Volunteer If I Work During The Day?
All of our programs take place during the school day so that we can make them accessible to most students. The actual time of day is usually somewhat flexible and can be worked out with JA and your cooperating teacher. However, there may be room to volunteer during your lunch hour. We have a working relationship with most local employers and find that they are willing to compromise with us to ensure that students receive this vital education that prepares them to be better employees. We also can promise that you will return to the workplace with polished skills and a fresh perspective.
Is It Possible To Volunteer At My Child's School?
We make every effort to place you where you feel most comfortable. Sometimes there are more requests than openings and we would ask that you help us out in another spot where there is a need until we can get you into the school that you prefer. Having said that, if your child's teacher does not currently use JA in the classroom and you want to approach them about your doing a JA program, we will be happy to work with you on this.
Would A JA Class Take Time Away From The Core Content Required In The Classroom?
With accountability in the news, it's no wonder you want to help teachers stick to basics! We commend you for recognizing that outside resources can add interest and support to the teacher's efforts. Rather than an intrusion on time, the JA curriculum enhances and supports the standards and is a help, not a hindrance, to the teacher's work. Let's talk!
What Will Be Expected Of Me As A Volunteer?
You will be expected to show interest in the students and their progress, encourage responsible behavior, give constructive feedback, and have fun. By doing so you will provide positive reinforcement and motivate the students to practice new skills. In addition, as you share life experiences, you will help students understand realities about transitioning from school to the workplace. It is important to note that volunteering for JA means presenting very specific lessons and content, which you "flavor," with your personal and professional observations. JA volunteerism is much more than telling your own story and talking about what you do. There is a complete curriculum and a structure that you must align with so the teacher and student expectations are met and so JA Implementation Standards are achieved. It is everyone's expectation — the teacher's, the students', and Junior Achievement's — that you will complete 100% of the curriculum for which you have volunteered.
How Do I Contact The Teacher For My Assigned Classroom?
As a volunteer it is your responsibility to contact the teacher. The JA office will provide you with the contact information. We suggest that you visit the classroom before your first session. When you first make contact, be sure to ask the teacher for the best time to call and the best way to contact him/her. Remember that leaving a message for the teacher does not always mean that he or she has received it. If necessary, make a second call. Be sure to tell the person answering the phone that it is important for your message to be conveyed to the teacher.
Do I Sign In When I Arrive To Volunteer At A School?
Yes. Most schools have a sign-in policy for visitors and you will need to press a button to gain access to most school buildings via the main entrance. Upon entry, report directly to the main office, introduce yourself, sign in, and inform the office staff that you will be reporting on a weekly basis. Be sure to identify the teacher with whom you will be working. Ask if the preference is for you to sign in each visit. If you are issued a visitor's badge, ask if you should return it after each visit. If you have a business ID tag or name plate available, it may be a good idea to wear it as well.
Who Do I Contact If I Am Unable To Attend A Scheduled Session?
The teacher will want time to make other plans if you cannot attend, so please contact the teacher as soon as you know a change in your schedule. You may have the option of rescheduling for another day or time. During the training session or before your first visit, you and the teacher should devise a contingency plan of what is to be covered if either of you is absent.
How Should The Students Address Me As A Volunteer?
School protocol dictates that students refer to you by your last name preceded by Mr., Ms., or Mrs. You should refer to teachers in the same manner.
What Kind Of Support Should I Expect From The Teacher?
Your partnership with the teacher is fundamental. The teacher serves as a second consultant and should remain in the classroom throughout each session. The law requires that a certified person be in the room at all times. You should also expect the teacher to share any information with you that will make the program run more smoothly. Student names, potential leaders and other information on classroom dynamics would be helpful too, such as whether or not students work well in small or large groups, and how accustomed they are to interactive, hands-on learning. You should expect the teacher to assist your presentations, reinforce the concepts between sessions, integrate the JA experience with the content material, and manage student behavior.
What School Resources Can I Expect To Be Available?
All school resources should be available to you. However, the teacher will advise you about procedures for accessing the TV/VCR, computers, books, or other resource materials. The photocopier may be available for use as well. Further, the school library and computer library may require advanced notice. You might consider enlisting the help of the school's guidance counselor or career development specialist. The teacher should be able to help coordinate with anyone whose unique talents and abilities would enhance the students' experience.
What Can I Expect From The Students?
Since students typically do not choose to participate, you may encounter some resistance if the teacher has not adequately prepared them. For the most part, elementary students should be highly enthusiastic. Review with the teacher all classroom procedures and rules, and alert students that you will maintain the same standards. Older students are teenagers, and will act accordingly. Therefore, it is important that you articulate your expectations to the students, i.e., come to class on time, complete the required task, be cooperative, and show respect for yourself and others. Model the behavior you expect from students. They will notice how congruent your behavior is with your message.
What Should I Do If A Student Is Disruptive Or Challenges Me?
On the first visit you and the teacher should have already discussed discipline. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the school's discipline policies. The two of you should review expectations with the students and enforce them consistently. Start fresh every session; every student has the right to a new beginning. If a pattern of disruption is present and discipline is needed, the teacher is responsible for delivering it.
What Other Kinds Of Interruptions Should I Expect?
You can expect announcements, fire drills, special assemblies, and more to possibly interrupt your sessions. Schools may close because of snow, bad weather, a power outage, etc. You and the teacher might consider exchanging home telephone numbers so that you can be notified as soon as possible about such delays. You will need to reschedule your session or coordinate what activities need to be accomplished.
What Kind Of Recognition Should I Give To Students?
Students, like most of us, respond to verbal praise. You also may use certificates or fun inexpensive items. The teacher may give extra credit points or other school-sanctioned awards. Consider hosting lunch or a one-day internship at your business. The best way to determine what motivates the students is to ask them during the first session. Be sure to clear any arrangements with the teacher, especially those involving food and drink.
I Don't Have The Time To Volunteer. What Other Ways Are There For Me To Be Involved?
Most outstanding role-models are overly extended and very busy. We have CEO's, parents, coaches and world travelers as volunteers in our classrooms. They understand busy! Try to work it into your schedule, but if you can't, recruit a substitute for us! Enthusiastic people usually know other enthusiastic people and we can use all of them that we can find. We never have enough volunteers. But if you really still want to touch the future, you can help financially or with in-kind services or gifts. It takes money to run a successful organization along with the vital people resource!
Each of the following are ways to impact our work and enjoy yourself at the same time:
1. Volunteer to work with a class – or recruit a colleague to do the same!
2. Provide a financial gift from you and/or your company to ensure all classes can run.
3. Offer your particular expertise to assist that aspect of our work.
4. Participate in a special event and raise funds along with fun!
5. Judge a contest, give a speech, or provide a prize!