What should I expect in my Service Learning class?
Expect the best!
Most students have a fantastic experience. Some even say SL changes their experience of college, their goals for the future, or their lives. TIP: Keep an open mind. You may be about to do something new, but new experiences are what college is about.
Expect to go through a “hiring: process”:
First, your teacher will talk about how Service Learning relates to the outcome goals of the class. You will get a brief orientation on appropriate approaches to SL, and your teacher will go over paperwork needed.
Then you will likely be given a choice of service placements your teacher has determined work well with the content of her or his class. Many Gavilan teachers use a common website for you to “shop” and find your best-fit placement agency. It may be helpful for you to have a resume already filled out, or to use the generic application form on the website. If you don’t know how to fill it out putting your best foot forward, ask your instructor for help.
You will contact the agency representative listed on the website directly, via email or phone. That “employer” may talk to you briefly or at length by e-mail or phone to determine your interests and/or your suitability for employment. TIP THIS is the best time to talk about scheduling—many placement just don’t work out because students don’t have time free when the agency needs them. So get this clear early on!
Then most will want to meet with you one-on-one in person, though some do only phone or group interviews. You can apply to an agency with a friend or group, but some agencies will select individuals they want to “hire,” while others are more open to teams or pairs.
Expect an orientation of some sort from the agency.
Expect to have a supervisor who keeps track of your hours and helps guide your work.
Expect to give your teacher feedback verbally or in writing about how the placement is going.
Expect to have regular writing and/or reporting assignments about your placement. This is where your teacher will help you by giving you a chance to tie the Service Learning work to class content. If you don’t see the connections, ask in class.
Expect to deal professionally with problems that come up on your job, or with absences you may find necessary. That means to ask for help when you need it, call ahead if you will be late or absent, and let your supervisor know of any circumstances that will affect your work.