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Information for Volunteers - HealthTeach

Recruiting for professional student volunteers starts in September at the New Student Fair, as well as through e-mail and encouragement from past volunteers. Applications are submitted on-line or by mail. Generally in HealthTeach, two to three first-year professional students are partnered with two elementary school (K-5 grade) teachers from the same school. The team meets at a Partnership Orientation hosted by SEP in January where we describe the program’s expectations, share tips for a successful partnership, and provide time for teams to begin planning. Teachers and their student partners together plan and teach four lessons in each of the teacher’s classrooms between January and April. The estimated time commitment for planning and teaching the lessons, including the dinner orientation, is 20 hours.

The students in HealthTeach classrooms range from 5-6 years old (in kindergarten) through 10-11 years old (in 5th grade).Public schools throughout San Francisco’s different neighborhoods participate in the program each year. When creating partnership teams, SEP staff take into account volunteers’ schedules and the distance to the school site as well as whether any of the scientists on the team has a car.

We have wonderful resources to support your lesson planning – you are not expected to come up with the lessons all on your own. First, UCSF SEP is home to the Daly Ralston Resource Center, a lending library of more than 3,000 materials that support hands-on health and science lessons. The Resource Center collection includes organ specimens, human organ models, charts, books, videos, and equipment such as classroom sets of stopwatches and stethoscopes. Additionally, the Resource Center staff are skilled science educators who can help you design your lessons. Our online collection of science and health lessons, SEP Lessons, provides detailed lesson plans developed by SEP partnership teams.

Teacher partners are also a great source of information! They provide guidance about whether lessons are age-appropriate and will meet the abilities of their students, how to engage their students and manage the classroom and materials, necessary safety precautions, and more. After a lesson, teachers can provide constructive feedback about what went well, what could be done differently, why a student may have reacted in a certain way, etc.

Among outcomes from previous participants, professional students report that through the partnership, they learn to explain science and health concepts more simply (88%), acquire communication skills that will be useful when working with patients (75%), and deepen their appreciation of teachers and the work that they do (94%). Teachers report that through their SEP partnership, they have deepened their understanding of some scientific concepts (100%); that their students have the opportunity to talk about their own scientific ideas (100%), and that their students see the UCSF professional students as role models (91%). All participating teachers (100%) feel that the SEP partnership is a valuable professional experience.

I’m interested – how do I sign up?

Applications for the 2017-18 classroom partnership programs will be available this October. Please check back then for application details.