Career Story: Children's Instructor At The YMCA

Children's Instructor At The YMCA

Job Title: Instructor

Type of Company: I work for the YMCA in Reading, MA. My company provides a community service.

Education: AS, Keystone College •• secretarial certificate, Katherine Gibbs

Previous Experience: I worked for a mutual funds company for 12 years and during that time started a family. I then traded careers to work at the YMCA to focus on children.

Job Tasks: I instruct children in a variety of ways by teaching them to socialize with other children, follow rules, understand the games they're being taught and work well with others by sharing equipment. If one child has a ball and the other tries to take it, we have to teach them to get along and to play together amicably.

I have to set up for my classes by preparing the appropriate materials and being organized to start my class. If it is a gym class, I have to set up the mats (obstacle course) or take out the t-ball equipment, bases, t's, balls, mitts and have them ready to use for when the children enter the gym.

If I'm teaching an art or music class, I do a lot of prep work ahead of time. I go to the library and get some books on the particular subject, so that I can have story time at the end of my lesson. I use the internet to search for ideas. I prepare what I need by gathering materials such as paint, glue, paper, ahead of time so that I'm ready for class.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is the joy of seeing happy children, seeing how proud they are of their accomplishments and what they are learning in class. It makes me very happy when the children come to me and are so glad to see me. The parents also sometimes have to talk for the very young child to express what they are feeling. When the child takes something positive away from my class and uses it effectively at home, I feel I'm really getting through to the child and there is great carry over.

The worst part is the pay, the sadness of a hurt or sad child. I do not make a lot of money as the YMCA is non-profit. But I feel as if I'm providing an invaluable service for the children and their parents. The parents sometimes make lifelong connections with new folks and they can say they met when their kids were very young. I don't like to see the kids fall down and hurt themselves either!

Job Tips: Try to volunteer around children to see if you have the temperament for it. It's not a job for everyone and you have to find the right age group. I work well with kids up to nine. I have experienced all age ranges working at the Y and know what works best for me.

Additional Thoughts: It has surprised me that I am NOT shy like I used to be. I would have never guessed that I'd be talking to so many different people over the course of a day and that I can be so confident in my skills. Ultimately you have to do what feels most natural for you in order to be successful.

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