Volta Elementary School Graduate Now Serves Current Volta Students as a School Clerk
30 April 2023
Ms. Tailor credits the community at Volta for helping her become successful.
Ms. Fajila Tailor immigrated to Chicago from India in 2002. While she notes that she came to the U.S. without knowing English or much about American culture, she credits the community at Volta Elementary School for welcoming her and helping her succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.
After graduating from Volta, she returned to the school while in high school to volunteer, which led to a position tutoring refugee students. As a college student, she worked at Volta as a literacy and math interventionist. This is when she solidified that Volta is where she wanted to work moving forward. She now serves the school as a clerk. Learn more about her journey below.
How would you describe the Volta community to someone who is not a part of it?
Volta is my second home. When I came back, the principal at the time was like a father to me, and the English language program teacher who I worked closely with was a very supportive, kind lady. Not only did they help me, but they also helped my siblings and my mom.
When you come to Volta as an immigrant, the environment feels like home. The environment is really caring and multicultural, and it’s full of caring, loving people who understand you and will be ready to support you.
What are some of your favorite parts of your job as a clerk?
My favorite part is helping Volta’s families. As a dual language school, Volta has many Latinx students as well as students who are from India and speak Gujarati. I actually speak Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, and Spanish as part of my role, so I am able to make a huge difference for families who don’t know English. It makes me so happy to be able to communicate with families and help them get the resources they need to be successful.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
As a clerk, you can have a lot on your plate and the office can get really busy. I wear many hats and sometimes have to act as a nurse, counselor, social worker, or security guard. That’s why I always have to remind myself why I am here. On some days, I may have to do work, such as coordinating substitutes for staff who will be out, at home. But I’ve created a great system for reaching out to substitutes. Even on the days that I have to take some work home, I know that it’s worth it.
How would the students at Volta describe you?
They would describe me as a person they can rely on and trust. They know that they can always come to me to speak their minds, and even use me as a translator when needed. They also see me as a therapist and will come to me to calm them down when they need someone who will listen to them and understand what they are going through.
What are some of your favorite memories at Volta?
I always enjoyed our potluck that would bring different ethnic foods together, as well as our International Night where we would celebrate all of our school’s cultures. We would also take our students to various CPS events to perform ethnic Indian dances.
Another memory is seeing my former students who are now graduating from high school and college. When I receive invitations to go to their graduations, it makes me extremely proud of them.
What are your current goals?
My top goal is to definitely keep working for the District, especially continuing the work I am doing to be a support system for immigrant families. I also have a 17-month-old baby, and I want to be a supportive mother and be a support system in his education as well.
What advice would you give to a new clerk?
No matter what comes your way, make sure to keep a smile on your face, and you will be fine. You got this! There are many clerks who are ready to support you, so never think that you’re alone. I would recommend joining the Clerk Community group to connect with experienced clerks that will train and mentor you.
What message would you like to give to your fellow clerks?
You all are the best and the hearts of our schools. Without you, schools could not function. Parents, students, teachers, and principals all rely on clerks. Sometimes it is a difficult job, but we are all in this together. And we always should keep in mind that we are here for the students and our school community.
Interested in joining CPS as a school clerk? Check out the District’s available positions on the CPS Careers page.
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