Jane Seaburn is starting her eleventh year as a CMA docent and is also a volunteer co-director of the docent training program. In this interview she discusses her experience volunteering with CMA and answers questions future docents might have about the program.
What do you enjoy most about being a docent at CMA?
For me I knew very little about the ocean, so I have been able to learn about the ocean, the fish and the animals that live there. Then you take that knowledge and youíre able to share it with children, school aged children, or adults too, but mainly children. Itís just amazing to see their faces light up; they are so excited to learn about the animals and the fish. I love that most of all.
Did you consider yourself an expert public speaker before you started?
Not at all, thatís the thing I do not like to do, I donít like to step in front of groups and speak. But you know youíre so excited about learning about the animals at the aquarium that you feel comfortable sharing it with the kids and they are just so open to you. And they teach you in the docent training class how to use proper language and how to do the Do It, Do Its, thereís so many fun ways that you can teach the kids, you feel comfortable. (A Do It, Do It is a fun teaching technique CMA developed to engage kids in the learning process.)
Do you have a favorite memory from all the tours that youíve given?
Well, you know I remember the first time that I got a letter back from some of the children that I had toured with on a Wednesday. And it was just so amazing. They were so happy with what they learned and were sharing back with me what we had talked about. It just made you feel so happy.
Do you enjoy working with CMA staff?
The staff is so outstanding; I mean theyíre friendly and warm. The thing I admire about them is you can stop them anywhere and ask a question and they will stop what theyíre doing and answer you. And if they canít, they go and find the answer and come back to you. They are just so open to helping you, itís an amazing place.
Can you think of anything else we should let future docents know?
You know the thing I find when you come here and volunteer, the people that youíre volunteering with, you form lifetime friendships. You want to come every volunteer day because itís so much fun. And youíre continually learning. Each morning you volunteer, the staff will have an enrichment, so you learn something new about the animals or the fish, which keeps it exciting and interesting.
To find out more about becoming a volunteer docent, the requirements, and when the next training starts, please visit our Volunteer Page.
Post Date: Thursday, September 08, 2011