Every week, thousands of professionals from across the country are inspiring middle schools students to dream big. These volunteer “Citizen Teachers” lead students on a 10-week path to discovery, working with them on hands-on projects that transcend the traditional classroom experience. They are helping to close the gaps between students and successful futures by giving their time and expertise. We are excited to introduce a new series to our blog-- Citizens Inspired-- which is a chance to celebrate the impact of service and thank one outstanding Citizen Teacher every month for changing students’ lives.
Although she didn’t know what to expect on the first day back in a middle school, Radhika Rajgarhia was an instant hit with the students in her afternoon “apprenticeship” class. As a former elementary school teacher who taught in under-served public schools, she knows first hand about the disparity between schools that are rich with opportunities and schools that are under-resourced.
After her teaching career, Radhika and her husband founded an education technology company called Second Nature Learning, which creates apps to teach middle and high school students about personal finance. With a deep passion for increasing educational opportunities for students, Radhika felt an instant connection to Citizen Schools and immediately signed up to volunteer.
In the classroom, Radhika has already made a huge impact on students, using her own innovative technology to help students increase math proficiency, while learning important skills to carry them through college and beyond. Through fun, engaging games students from all backgrounds are able to learn complex math concepts and apply them to real-world scenarios like monthly budgeting and how to save for college.
We are proud to feature Radhika as our first Citizen Teacher of the Month. Thank you for helping students in San Jose discover and achieve their dreams!
Apprenticeship: Show Me the Money at Joseph George Middle School, San Jose, California
1. What is your “WOW” moment from the experience so far?
One of our lessons was so engaging and fun. We played a game of “Who Wants to be Budgeteer?” and the students were so engaged and jumping out of their seats. The app we used has a real-time assessment built in, and at the end, the dashboard showed us that all of the students understood the content. It was so incredible to see them having fun with math and learning in a really hands-on way. The kids are so eager to learn and they just need to be connected to the right resources.
2. Why are you proud to be a Citizen Teacher?
Mentoring is very important, especially for middle school students in these communities. They might not have access to role models, or they might be the first in their family to go to college--there are so many things going on in their lives. Being there with them in the classroom is the best way to give back. Building those relationships over ten weeks and helping them discover what they want to do in their lives is an incredible experience. It’s inspiring to be a part of it. It’s probably the biggest impact you can make on somebody's life.
You can make an impact by signing up to teach an apprenticeship. You might be our next Citizen Teacher of the month!