Volunteer Spotlight – Once you reach your potential, then you can exceed your potential!

Volunteer Spotlight – Once you reach your potential, then you can exceed your potential!

Volunteer spotlight Volunteers What's new?

Can you tell us why you decided to volunteer with GT scholars?

I decided to volunteer with GT Scholars because I felt that my background in teaching could help students who are struggling with school work. So I felt I had something to offer.

Is that why you decided to volunteer in general? Have you volunteered before?

No, I haven’t volunteered before. Yes, that is why I decided to volunteer with GT Scholars.

Can you tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?

Well, as I said, I have some sort of background in teaching, and I realised there are lots of people out there who need help with teaching. And because I know lots of things to do with English, I thought I could help with GT scholars.

And have you ever had a mentor or a tutor before?

When I was in University, I had a mentor and a tutor. And that experience of having a mentor and a tutor in University, which helped me through my course, made me realise just how important it is to have a personal mentor and a tutor for educational purposes.

What did you gain from having the mentor and the tutor?

Well, just like in school, when you have lessons and you’re noting down things or things that you find difficult or things you find embarrassed to talk about in public before other students. You can have a mentor and a tutor, as I did in the University, that you could bring up with things that you found difficult or things that you’re just, as it were, perhaps maybe too embarrassed to say you’re struggling with and that personal connection that you form with a tutor helps you improve not only your personal confidence, because that’s an important thing that you help students personal confidence, but you also help their educational confidence. They’re able to understand things more clearly.

How important do you think the support has been from the mentor and the tutor in getting you to where you are today?

Well, it’s great to support, first of all, the self-belief that you have; a self-belief in the classroom when you don’t understand things and you continue not to understand things or find things too difficult, you lose self-belief. The mentor gives you that self-belief because you begin to understand things. You understand, they’re not so hard, and it’s not beyond you. And ultimately, I think the tutor or mentor helps you reach your potential, both as an individual and also educationally. Once you reach your potential, then you can exceed your potential. So, a tutor is very very important

Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people? 

I would say one of the principal values of tutoring is learning how to communicate your difficulties beyond “I don’t understand” or “it’s too difficult”. It also helps the students focus on what they find difficult. So they learn how to focus on the bits they find difficult, on the bits they don’t understand. And that’s the benefit of tutoring is that a student begins to look at themselves as a learner more than they have a tendency to look at them, learning things. They look at themselves. 

They understand what they’re good at, what they’re bad at. They understand how they think. It teaches them how to think. We tend to think that thinking comes naturally and it does, of course, but there’s a way to think and better ways to think. I think all the skills it teaches you, all of those the cognitive skills that you need, and it teaches you to examine your own self cognitively. And that is an important thing about tutoring.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?

My principal gain from tutoring with GT Scholars is the personal satisfaction of having a pupil come to me with disbelief in themselves and an array of difficulties that they think are beyond them. And then at the end of the tutorial, not only understanding how to deal with those educational difficulties but equally understanding how to process information and how to think about information and then how to do school work. It’s that personal satisfaction of having someone who doesn’t feel, they feel that school is not for them. It’s not their place. And to come out thinking that school is for them, it is their place. Learning is their place. And in some cases, having students have their horizons expanded rather than just closed horizons. Those are the things I’ve got from volunteering.

What part of the entire volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling? 

I think the most fulfilling thing is helping with their English literature score. That’s always fulfilling because you can really bring out the flavour of literature and poetry to people and enhance their understanding of poetry. That’s one thing. And also teaching students grammar and punctuation. Because when you say grammar and punctuation It’s like Kryptonite to most students. They get scared, they panic. But when you can explain it to them and then it makes sense to them. Once it makes sense, then they can make sense of their own writing and how to write.

So those are the two things I’ve gained, exposing students to literature and understanding just how interesting and important it is, and equally exposing them to understanding grammar and punctuation.

What do you think the most important skill is to be a volunteer tutor?

I think the most important skill is being a volunteer person, you have to want to help. It’s a willingness and a desire to help people and particularly young people. And that is the most important skill you need. I think once you have that willingness to do it, any work that you have to do will propel you to do that. It’s willingness. I would say willingness.

And then is there anything else you’d like to add about your time as a volunteer at GT Scholars? 

Yes. I would just say to other people who want to volunteer with GT scholars. It’s only 1 hour every week, so it’s not a great amount of time and you can interact with students, many of whom I’ve come across do want to learn, they just need some guidance on how to learn. And there is a deep satisfaction that you get when you turn students around and they become self-motivated learners.

Volunteer Spotlight – Tutoring helps to overcome obstacles, and it gives individual attention, which is sometimes actually what’s needed!

Volunteer Spotlight – Tutoring helps to overcome obstacles, and it gives individual attention, which is sometimes actually what’s needed!

Volunteer spotlight Volunteers What's new?

Why did you decide to volunteer?

When it came to Covid, I was worried about my job security, so I started looking into tutoring as an alternative. I thought let’s get up to speed with what I need to do to tutor. It could be an option for me if It materialised that I didn’t have job security. I got all of the GCSE revision guides and student books to get my head back to where I needed to be to think about tutoring chemistry and physics. 

When it became apparent that my job was secure, I thought I’m not going to waste that time and effort I’ve put in. I decided to find somewhere I could use it. I did some Googling and I found GT Scholars and decided that I will try and help somebody and support somebody who needs it and hopefully help them with their long term goal by tutoring them. So that’s how it all came about!

Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today, with regards to tutoring and your job in general?

So many years ago, I did my degree in animal science. As a child, I lived in the country and I was surrounded by nature and I was always outside turning stones over and seeing what I could find or sketching birds – I knew all of the bird species. I took my GCSE’s in school and I took my A levels and then I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or which direction to turn. I had no main focus, so I just got a job in a call centre. 

I worked in a call centre for several years, but it wasn’t really hitting the spots I wanted it to hit in regards to where I wanted to be. And so I actually went to University much later. I didn’t study until I was 32, actually. So I graduated when I was 35, and since then I’ve been in Zoo education. 

I’ve worked in zoos as a keeper originally and then followed on in the line of the Zoo education. For the last eight years, I’ve been working for an organisation called Zoolab,  we’ve been operating for over 20 years, and we go out to schools with invertebrates and vertebrates and teach national curriculum-based topics, anything from reception class right through to Universities.

You can be on your knees with three to five-year-olds right and then in the afternoon presenting to 20-year-olds. You have to change the style of your delivery to make the presentation appropriate to your audience. 

So during your time at University and at school, have you ever had a mentor or a tutor and did you find it useful? And what did you gain from it?

This is what I love about the GT Scholars idea. When I was at school, I don’t recall so many options available. We did have choices when I took my A levels. It was very much about going to University, but I don’t remember talks about doing things other than University. I don’t recall all the mentoring and guidance so much. 

I just think it’s so important because it’s a crucial turning point towards a path that you’re pursuing for the rest of your life. That path could take you to a career that you love, or it could take you to a career that perhaps isn’t really where you want it to be. Having that additional one-on-one time in the class environment, I think, is so beneficial. It’s extra guidance that as a teenager stepping out into the big wide world is really beneficial. 

There’s a lot going on when you are a teenager and you can feel quite vulnerable. So I think any guidance and support is so important and beneficial, especially for families that don’t have additional support and families from disadvantaged backgrounds. So this is why I really welcomed volunteering for GT Scholars because mentoring and guidance is very important.

Do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?

I think it’s great for self-confidence. I’ve noticed that with my own scholar. One lesson a couple of weeks ago, he actually said to me ‘We’re doing a topic in class that we’ve been doing in our tutoring sessions and I knew what they were going to say. I knew that was the formula. The fact that he knew something and was slightly ahead of the game in this particular topic really motivated him. I think that’s self-motivating because you suddenly feel ahead, which perhaps he hasn’t felt before.

I think there are so many advantages. There’s the potential to improve your work and planning and study habits because you are given homework and expected to work with the technology that interacts with the tutor.  It’s a good learning experience, people in a class of 35 at school often have different levels of learning and different methods that don’t suit everyone. One on one time allows a student to look at a topic that they may not have understood in class and break it down with the tutor by using a method of tutoring that suits that individual. 

Tutoring helps to overcome those obstacles, and it gives individual attention, which is sometimes actually what’s needed. Some people work better by learning in small groups or individually rather than in a big class. I can say to my scholar, Do you have anything you are struggling with within the school that you want to bring to me? Are there any topics you want to bring to me rather than me directing the study? It encourages self-directed learning as well.

And what is the biggest thing that you’ve gained from volunteering with GT scholars?

So much! Really, I’ve had to learn!! The education that I do day-to-day is in groups. But very few times I’ve done one-on-one sessions, so I’ve had to understand different methods of learning, and I’ve had to be patient. It certainly allows you to think about being a bit more patient. There are weeks where my scholar perhaps hasn’t been punctual or he hasn’t attempted his homework and there are weeks he’s been amazing.

It’s about being patient and diplomatic with it, having an understanding that every two students are different and will learn differently. I’ve enjoyed the whole learning experience about tutoring, seeing how it works, and what doesn’t work. 

Tell us about your experience with your scholar

I think as time has gone on, I’ve gotten to know my scholar well. I know what he likes, he likes basketball and because of this, I try to make our sessions inspiring and fun at the same time. When we do our recap at the beginning of each week on our online Jamboard, I have got a big picture of Michael Jordan, the basketball player, and I’ve got six Post It notes on the screen. My Scholar has to answer those questions, if he gets them correct then he gets a digital slam dunk on the screen.

That’s our fun recap at the beginning to just bring ourselves back to speed where we were the previous week. We will then learn a new topic.  I will get my Scholar to tell me some cool facts about Michael Jordan. I think it’s important to make the sessions fun and engaging to make your scholar enjoy learning. 

So what do you think are the most important skills for a volunteer to have?

Patience and adaptability! Sometimes you need to adapt to last-minute changes that may happen, so being adaptable and patient is key. I think a sense of humour is important too. If you can make your sessions more engaging, the scholars remember those sessions.

In the Know: Festive Fun for the Family!

In the Know: Festive Fun for the Family!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Can you believe that there are only three Fridays until it’s Christmas?! With only a few weeks left until the end of term, we thought we’d share some fun, family activities to get you and your family into the festive cheer! These activities will help stimulate your child and also provide an opportunity for you to spend some quality time together. If you’re feeling festive or you’re looking for a nudge to get you going, then read on to see what we’ve got lined up!

Make your own festive greeting card!
The Great Exhibition Road Festival is hosting a free, exciting, online card-making workshop for the whole family! In this workshop, you’ll use materials you have at home to create unique festive greeting cards and discover the origins of this Victorian tradition. The workshop takes place on Wednesday 8th December, and you can book your place here

Build some new gadgets to help Santa’s deliveries
If your child is a master Lego builder then this free online workshop will be great for them. Hosted by Worcestershire Libraries, you and your family will have fun creating a new sleigh design with some gadgets for Santa. You don’t need to bring any specific Lego bricks, just a good selection to build your gadget. The workshop takes place on Tuesday 21st December, and you can book here

Be part of a virtual scavenger hunt!
Join storyteller John Kirk for a free jam-packed, interactive, online scavenger hunt. In this virtual storytelling experience, you and your family will have the opportunity to let your imagination run wild as you get into the mood for the Christmas celebrations. The session is open to the whole family and takes place on Tuesday 21st December. To book your ticket, click here

Applications for our 1-to-1 programmes are opened!
We’re really excited to let you know that applications are now open for our 1-to-1 online tutoring and mentoring programmes for young people aged 11-18! If you’d like to find out more about our programmes and give your child a headstart next term, make sure to book a call with the Scholar Success Team before Wednesday 15th December 2021.

In the Know: Exciting After School Online Clubs!

In the Know: Exciting After School Online Clubs!

In The Know What's new? Young Leaders Young people

Have you considered giving your child the opportunity to join an after-school club? After-school clubs can support social, emotional, cognitive, academic development and also provide a safe and supportive environment for your child. This week we’re sharing three fun after-school clubs that your child can join for free! If this sounds like just the right fit for you, read on to find out more!

Explore Music Production!
Conductive Music is hosting a free, fun, and educational after-school club to learn how to make music online. During the 11 week workshop, your child will be introduced to music production software Bandlab and will learn mixing and exporting, sound design, cinematic effects, and looping. They’ll also have the opportunity to create songs and soundtracks. It’s open to young people aged 9 and up, and you can join from Thursday 2nd December, to sign up, click here

Enjoy creating your own arts and crafts with Reading Friends!
If your family enjoys arts and crafts, this after-school club will be perfect for them. The format of the group is Bring Your Own Craft/Show-and-Tell, and the optional theme for this month is Portraits. You’ll have the opportunity to chat about and show whatever you’re crafting at the moment and get some inspiration for what to create next! The free online club will take place on Friday 10th December, and you can book your place here

Be part of a Book Club!
Join the University of Oxford as they host a free online book club for young people aged 11-14. During this session, you will be joined by Author Nikki Sheehan as she discusses her novel, Who Framed Klaris Cliff? During the live stream, Nikki will be talking about her influences, what her characters mean to her, and taking questions from the audience. The book club takes place on Wednesday 15th December, and you can sign up here

In the Know: All Things Green!

In the Know: All Things Green!

In The Know Parents What's new?

How are you? I hope well? I think it’s safe to say that young people need to learn how to protect their environment, be kind to each other, and make decisions that benefit the world as a whole. We believe that it’s important to teach young people about the environment and sustainability at home, as each small change can make a big impact. In this week’s line up, we’re focusing on just that! Read on if you’d like to find out more!

Learn how to store green energy!
The Great Exhibition Road Festival is hosting a free event where you and your family will discover how scientists capture and store green energy! Imperial College London Scientist, Louise, will unpack how to store energy on a large scale, so we can keep powering our homes and schools even when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. The event takes place on Wednesday, 24th November, and you can sign up here

Express how you feel about your environment!
Join Kakou for their exciting, free event called “A Climate of Change”! The aim of this workshop is to give young people, aged 8 – 24, an exciting opportunity to express their experience of COVID-19, and how it’s changed their environment,  through music and creative arts! This event will also allow them to explore how the environment and social culture is changing around them. It takes place on Wednesday, 1st December. You can register by clicking here

Explore the outdoors!
This free club is hosted by Surrey Wildlife Trust and is the perfect place for budding biologists and explorers to meet online with education tutors! They’ll get the opportunity to play games, make crafts, and share their love of all things wild. These activities are aimed at ages 6 – 13, and each session has a different theme. There will be activities to keep your child busy and happy all through winter. The club takes place on Thursday, 9th December and you can book here.  

 

In the Know: Celebrating National STEM Day!

In the Know: Celebrating National STEM Day!

In The Know Parents What's new?

National STEM Day was celebrated on Monday, November 8th, and was aimed to inspire kids to pursue and explore their interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This day is an opportunity to focus on helping young people develop an interest and advance in these fields. We believe the best time to build this mindset and spark interest is during their early education experiences. This week we’re sharing three fun activities that will help explore the field of STEM, read on to find out more. 

Learn more about coding!
Microsoft is hosting a free online event for young people aged 9 and up. The event features unique daily themes, guest speakers, and virtual workshop activities. By the end of the workshop, your child will have learned basic block coding concepts and solved beginner-friendly coding puzzles. The event takes place on Saturday 11th December, and you can book here.  

Make your own Sierpinski tree using Maths!
Join Maths on Toast to prepare for the festive season by making your own mathematical tree. The workshop is aimed at young people 4 and up and will give them the opportunity to use their Maths skills. During the workshop, your child will learn how to make a Sierpinski tree by joining tetrahedrons. The workshop takes place on Saturday 20th November and you can join here

Explore the role of Radio Engineer with STEM Hub!
If your child is in primary school and is interested in working as a radio engineer, this event is for them. Your child will have the opportunity to learn what it is like to work with pilots on walkie-talkies and how technology is used to help airplanes fly in the right place in the sky. The event takes place on Friday 26th November and will host a live Q&A session. You can register here.  

In the Know: Ready, Set, Goals!

In the Know: Ready, Set, Goals!

In The Know Parents What's new?

With our careers summit coming up, we’re thinking about ways to help young people to start thinking about their goals and aspirations for the future. It’s never too early to get your child ready and to help them to start thinking about what they’d like to accomplish! Today, we’ll be sharing events that will help stimulate their creative thinking and give them some guidance on setting and achieving their future career goals. If you’d like to know more, read on!

Don’t miss the GT Scholars Online Career Summit – This Saturday!
With only a day to go for our online Careers Summit, it’s still not too late to sign up! The summit will be hosted live on Saturday 6th November 2021. Join us for the interactive masterclasses & panel sessions on topics such as “Careers in Technology”, “Careers in Insurance”, “Applying to Oxbridge”, “Is a career in STEM for me?”, “Apprenticeships/Non-Traditional Career Routes” and more! This year’s online Careers summit is sponsored by BRIT Insurance and our keynote speaker will be Lord Michael Hastings CBE. If you’d like your child to attend, they can register here!

Learn more about Artificial Intelligence!
Who are smarter, people or machines? What is intelligence anyway? Your child will get the opportunity to learn about these issues while playing a code-breaking game called ‘Fruit Salad Mastermind’! This free, interactive online gaming event is being hosted by the University to help young people to build an understanding of human and artificial intelligence. The challenge is to crack a hidden code by making guesses and getting feedback. This event is open to children ages 8 and up and takes place on Tuesday 30th November. To book your place click here.

Join a STEMtastic Virtual Event!
STEMtastic is a virtual, all-day event for young people aged 11 – 18, who are interested in finding out more about STEM subjects for future career opportunities! Hosted by the Virgin Money STEM Outreach Programme, this event will have five workshops that focus on how STEM subjects apply to a range of roles such as cybersecurity, IT, and data analytics in business! It takes place on Wednesday 8th December, and is to inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM, to address the shortage of skills that the UK is facing in these industries. If you’d like your child to attend this event, you can register here.

In the Know:  Exciting Back to School Activities

In the Know: Exciting Back to School Activities

In The Know Parents What's new?

We hope you’ve had a great half-term break and are ready to get back into the new term? This week, we’ve got exciting events and activities that will help get your child back into the swing of things whilst having fun! These activities will encourage your child to explore their creative side, develop their imagination and boost their communication skills. If you’d like to find out more, read on!

 

Sign up for the GT Scholars Online November Careers Summit!
There’s only one week to go until our online Careers Summit! Don’t let your child miss out on a great opportunity to meet with and learn about careers and apprenticeships from professionals from a range of universities and corporate organisations such as PWC, Oxford University, BT, JP Morgan, EY, BRIT Insurance, and Blackrock bank! Our keynote speaker will be Lord Michael Hastings CBE. If you’d like your child to attend our summit on Saturday, 6th November, they can register here!

Learn to write an adventure story with Author Iryna Skibenko!
Is your child an explorer? Do they love adventure? Then they’ll love this Adventure Story Writing Session! This event will help your child learn how to structure an adventure story with prompts for writing the beginning, middle part, and the end. They’ll also learn about phrases to express a sequence of actions. The free session is open to young people aged 8 and up and takes place on Sunday, 31st October. To book your session, click here

Join an Online Lego Club!
Bean Learning is hosting a free, online Lego club for young people aged 5 and up! In this fun and engaging session, your child will have the opportunity to play, build and talk about Lego whilst sharing their creations and inspirations with each other. This session will also allow them to explore their imagination and creativity, design and engineering, and their social, emotional, and communication skills! They can join on Tuesday, 2nd November by booking here!

In the Know:  Fun Half-Term Activities

In the Know: Fun Half-Term Activities

In The Know Parents What's new?

Happy half-term break! We hope you had a great term, and are ready to sit back, relax and enjoy the well-deserved break? If you’re wondering how to keep your kids entertained, and at the same time ensure that they’re learning and being stimulated, then look no further! This week, we’ve got exciting events and activities that will help keep them engaged whilst having fun! Read on if you’d like to find out more!

 

Sign up for the GT Scholars Online November Careers Summit!

Our online Careers Summit is taking place on Saturday, 6th November and is free for young people aged 13-18 and their parents to attend. It’s a great opportunity where your child will get to meet with and learn about careers and apprenticeships from professionals from a range of universities and corporate organisations such as PWC, Oxford University, BT, JP Morgan, EY, BRIT Insurance and Blackrock bank! This year’s online Careers summit is sponsored by BRIT Insurance and our keynote speaker will be Lord Michael Hastings CBE. If you’d like your child to attend, they can register here!

Discover how to make your own movies with VRAcademi.com
In this free demo class, your child will learn to integrate art and technology to make movies. They’ll also get to develop the fundamentals of art and visual storytelling, learn to create a mindful state to share their stories using Virtual Reality, and build knowledge of editing videos and making their creative stories! Young people aged 13-18 can join on Wednesday, 27th October by clicking here!

Learn more about the Earth!
Join the STEM Ambassador Hub on this free, exciting Earth observation mission. The event gives your child the opportunity to view our beautiful planet from space and visit the orbiting satellites that are helping us combat climate change! This interactive event is for primary school students and their families and takes place on Friday, 29th October. If you’d like your child to join, sign up here!

Explore different ways to create comic art!
Brent Culture Service is hosting a free, online comic art workshop for young people aged 7-11. In this workshop, your child will learn secret tricks used by professionals to boost their creative confidence and design an amazing, eye-popping comic front page! The workshop takes place on Friday, 29th October. If this sounds like something your child will enjoy, then you register here

In the Know: Fun Family Activities!

In the Know: Fun Family Activities!

In The Know Parents What's new?

In this week’s newsletter, we’re focusing on the family. Family time offers many benefits, such as building confidence, improving communication skills, and creating a stronger emotional bond. This week’s lineup includes three activities that will provide an opportunity to make memories built on fun, laughter, and family spirit. Read on to find out more!

Discover new ways to bring waste material to life!
Materials Scientist, Dr. Elena Dieckmann and friends will be hosting a free, creative workshop for the whole family! In this workshop, you will learn an inventive way of weaving material from your old clothes and the contents of your recycling bin. You’ll also get to explore surprising ways that new life is brought to waste materials. Join in on the fun on Monday 11th October by booking here!

Sign up for a Family Quiz!
In this free family quiz, you’ll get a sneak-peak into the ways of designers and scientists from Exhibition Road and how they work behind the scenes to help inspire a greener future for the planet! This quiz is filled with games and curious questions that will help your family discover how they can work together to change the future. Join in on Friday 15th October by registering here

Learn to create your own Zine!
Join illustrator Katie Chappell in this free, live online workshop with lots of fun exercises and step-by-step drawing activities for the whole family. During this session, you’ll get the opportunity to create your own zine and fill it with ideas for how to start living a more sustainable life! This workshop takes place on Saturday 23rd October. If you’d like to join in, you can sign up here