IEC volunteer spotlight: Joe Schaedler

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Joe Schaedler has been a dedicated volunteer at the IEC for seven years. His path to volunteering happened almost by accident when one of his friends became a volunteer and told him about it. Joe was intrigued after hearing about the school and realized he had skills that would make him a good fit for volunteering at the IEC. He had majored in history at the University of Minnesota and learned a lot about languages, including Latin, Greek, French, German and Italian. He was excited to put that knowledge to work in the classroom. 

He’s been a classroom assistant for various teachers over the years, typically in the more advanced English classes. He volunteers one evening a week and enjoys every minute of his time in the classroom. 

“I like being around the students,” Joe says. “They want to be there, and they’re enthusiastic about learning so they can break through and accomplish great things.” 

He also has learned valuable skills during his time in the classroom. He currently works as a Carrier Account Representative at Target, a position that oversees freight carriers. But he says he has always wanted to be a teacher. Volunteering at the IEC has given him the opportunity to learn how the teachers organize a class schedule and determine curriculum. “If I wind up in front of a classroom someday, I could perform at a higher standard now than I would have before I started volunteering,” he says. 

Joe was recently recognized for the dedication he’s shown to the IEC with an honorable mention for outstanding volunteer from the Minnesota Literacy Council. He says he’s lucky to have extra time that he can devote to volunteering, and he thinks it’s important to help others.

“Every time I’m in the classroom, I feel like I’m able to contribute at least one thing that can help the students,” he says. “Even if I just help them learn one new phrase or a new word that day, I consider that a success.”