During my internship, I was responsible for different projects at the library. The project that I devoted most of my time to was supervising and organizing the Raising Readers program that met twice at the library for 45 minutes each week. Each week, I needed to set up and prepare materials for both the tutors and students that would come in. I would distribute materials, take questions, and assist if anything unexpected came up during the session. Each Friday, I would go to the headquarters for Raising Readers and parse through each student's reading materials, adding new material and taking old material out. I would read the reviews that tutors completed at the end of their sessions and put in new reading material that I thought was appropriate. During sessions, I would be in communication with tutors about how their students felt about their reading material and whether or not it should be changed for next week. I would also address concerns tutors had about the student they were working with , i.e. they felt their student was lacking in a particular area, that their student would connect with a different book better, or that the student or tutor would not be in attendance next week. While supervising, I also had to take attendance and pair students with different tutors if I had any unplanned absences. At times, if there were not enough tutors, I would need to step in and be a student's tutor for the session. I also needed to be communicating with my supervisor from Raising Readers about the needs of tutors and students, and about the interests of students. This was the project that took up most of my time. I would also transcribe the tutor's observation sheets that they filled out at the end of each session. While not contributing to the Raising Readers program, I would be given different tasks to do at the library. I had sorted audio book materials, placed stickers on new books, sorted through take-home toy kits for young children, taken an online class about improving story time, and helped out at different events ran by the library.
My greatest accomplishment during my internship was transitioning from having help running Raising Readers to being able to do it by myself. On my first day running it alone, there was a child who vomited on the table. I was able to get it handled but it certainly wasn't something I thought I would need to be dealing with. I also felt accomplished when the tutors would come to me with questions I felt confident I could answer, whether about our program or something about the child they were tutoring. Also, I consider choosing reading materials for students and hearing back from the tutors that the students really liked what I chose a great accomplishment. Also, while not my achievement, it was great to see the student's reading abilities improve throughout the duration of our program.
The greatest lesson I learned from my internship experience was that communication becomes pivotal when more people are added to the pool that you will be working with. A different person handled email communications with our tutors, and their emails were important in telling our tutors about information regarding meeting times and reading materials. There were times that admittedly, I felt left out of the conversation and there were some emails that should have been sent by weren't. It created a situation where I didn't know what information my tutors were missing, so when they came to me with questions I didn't have any answers ready. The importance of communication can be distinctly felt when you feel there is a lack of it. There were also times my tutors didn't feel they had been adequate information for their session, so this was frustrating for them. The importance of communication was made clear to me through this internship.
What advice would you give?
Do not settle when looking for your internship. Some are much better than others, so do not settle for the first one that you find. I was lucky enough to find a great internship despite putting off looking for one. I had to choose between the library and a different internship 45 minutes away. It was a lucky break that I was accepted at the library. If you begin looking for an internship early, you will not feel the stress of scrambling to find one at the end (like I did.) Also, you should go out of your comfort zone when looking for an internship (if you know what your comfort zone is). Your internship is committal, but not in the same way a regular job is. If you find out you don't like the position/work you'll be doing, than you have a reason to leave at the end and have learned more abut yourself. An internship is an opportunity to find what you don't like as well as what you do.