12 Tips for Volunteer Tutors joining one of our online Tutoring Programmes

12 Tips for Volunteer Tutors joining one of our online Tutoring Programmes

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Volunteering as an online tutor with GT Scholars can be a great and rewarding experience for both the tutor and the tutee. Whether you are an experienced online tutor with GT Scholars or just getting started, we’ve put together some great tips to ensure your tutoring sessions kick off smoothly. These tips will help you make your sessions impactful, and allow you to build a great relationship with your tutee and their parents:

1. Contact the parent within 48hrs
The first thing you’ll need to do when receiving the contact details for your tutee is to contact the tutee’s parents within 48hours to introduce yourself and to set up the first tutoring session. Try not to delay the introduction call, because the programme is time sensitive and the sooner you set up your first session the better. Your first session will be your planning session and you’ll get a chance to discuss academic goals and expectations with your tutee’s parents. During this meeting, parents will also share some key information about their child which will be useful throughout the tutoring process.

2. Schedule regular sessions
When scheduling your tutoring sessions, consider keeping your sessions on the same weekday and at the same time in order to create a routine, ultimately deciding on dates and times that works best for you and your tutee. You will have 10 sessions throughout the term. If you can’t make a weekly session or your tutee has notified you in advance that they won’t be available, then sessions can be made up for by having 2 sessions the week prior, after that week or extend the next two sessions by 30min to make up for the missed session. Try to keep your sessions regular and consistent to set a good structure with some flexibility.  

3. Always have video interaction
Amongst the most important parts of building a relationship with someone is being able to see them. You will be meeting with your tutee for the first time and putting a face to a name can help you establish a connection and also translate tone over the phone. Video calls also help by keeping the sessions fun and interactive. There are many benefits to video interaction such as teaching complex or visual subjects like Maths. Video sessions will create a great platform where it will be easier to have feedback and assist your tutee.

4. Never arrange tutoring sessions directly with your tutee
When making arrangements for sessions, remember to always contact the parents and never arrange sessions with the tutee directly. You could set up a 3-way WhatsApp group for you, the parent, and the tutee so that communication is clear and everybody is on board with the arrangement and schedule. If the parent insists on contacting their child directly, please notify us and we can talk to the parent about this.

5. Use the start of term assessment material to guide your sessions
At the start of the term, your tutee will receive a start of term assessment. You’ll receive the same assessment including the mark scheme for this assessment to review your tutee’s work. Ideally, your tutee should complete the start of term assessment before your first tutoring session, so you have a good starting point to work from but you can also complete the assessment together during your first session and assign some questions as homework to review at your next tutoring session. In your first online tutoring session, ask the tutee questions about their learning style, and see if you can adapt your session to match their needs.  

6. Try to be consistent with your tutoring schedule
Keeping your sessions regular and consistent will help to build a structure for both you and your tutee. Try to always stick to the schedule but also keep in mind that being flexible in how you approach your role as a volunteer tutor may be the key to a smooth working relationship.  Be mindful of the fact that students come from many different backgrounds and cultures, so you would want to avoid making assumptions or generalizations about students and their experiences. 

7. Know when to make up for missed sessions
Any sessions that were cancelled from your side should be made up. If your tutee can’t make a session and has notified you in advance, the session can be rescheduled. Any last minute cancellations by the parent i.e on the previous day or the day will count as a missed session. If a tutee does not show up for a session, it will also count as a missed session.  Please let us know as soon as possible if the tutee continues to miss sessions or postpone sessions. We have an 80% attendance policy and ideally, sessions should not run over the end of term date. 

8. Use the resources section
After the initial start of term assessment, you’ll have a good starting point to create the ultimate tutoring plan. Take note of your tutee’s learning style and also ask your tutee if there is anything specific that he/she is struggling with and would like your help with. Knowing what your tutee’s needs are will really help you in planning your sessions and make them impactful. You can make use of the resource section and the Learning Directory to keep your sessions interesting and engaging.

9. Be prepared
Before you start your sessions you may want to take some time to read through the tutoring handbook. This handbook provides all the information you’ll need to guide you through the tutoring process and if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at any time. 

10. Complete your progress planner after each session
Throughout the term and after each session you can use the Pupil Progress Planner to make notes that can be used to refer back to. Please keep track of the date and times of the sessions, the number of sessions, and if there were any missed sessions. You will also be able to use these notes at a later stage in order to give proper feedback and track the progress that was made throughout the term.

11. End of term report
The end term report will enable us to monitor the effectiveness of the tutoring programme. Aim to identify the tutee’s key strengths and areas that they will need extra help with. Your feedback will be valuable to your tutee and the parents and it will give them a birds eye view of what progress was made and what areas need to be focussed on. Keep in mind that your feedback will be important to your tutee and will also be a source of encouragement to the tutee.

12. Remember, we are here to help you
We have a fantastic support team who is on standby to help you if you experience any problems or need assistance during the term. Our programme manager will be in touch with you during the duration of the term, to check in with you and to make sure your sessions are running smoothly. But please do get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to discuss with us in between the check-in calls.

An interview with one of our scholars Priscilla

An interview with one of our scholars Priscilla

Online volunteering Post 16 Private tutoring Scholar spotlight What's new? Young people

Please tell me a little bit more about yourself?
My name is Priscilla, I’m 16 years old. I like swimming and I was part of a competitive swimming team for two years. I have a passion for swimming and therefore, I decided to take a rookie life-guard course so that I can apply for a part-time role as a life-guard with an indoor swimming facility. My favorite subjects is English & History and in the future I would like to become a lawyer.

Why did you decide on law?
My parents work in the NHS, so when I was younger, I wanted to become a doctor. I then realised that I wasn’t that good in science, but that I had a keen interest and passion for English. I love debating and I love talking and speaking out, so law was just something that caught my attention. I also love reading & investigating which forms part of the law sector. I’m definitely looking into attending one of the Russell Group Universities. My dream is to go to Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge – any one of the top universities would be great to get into.

Why did you decide to join GT Scholars?
My mum did some research and came across GT Scholars. She told me about it and we went to a workshop, I found it interesting and it met my needs. For me having online tutoring sessions was also easier. The whole programme seemed interesting and it was also cheaper than the tuition that we were paying for at the time.

When you decided to join GT Scholars, did you have any special goals that you wanted to achieve? 
Yes, so when I first started I focused on Maths because my Maths grades were really low. I wanted to pay extra attention to Maths and I wanted to be able to at least get an A grade for Maths at GCSE level. I feel like I managed to achieve my goal in the mock exam earlier this year. I didn’t have a chance to write my GCSE Maths exam because of the GCSE’s that was cancelled, but in the mock exam, I have really improved. I ended up getting a grade 7, which is all because of GT Scholars and my maths tutor.

Your second term with GT Scholars you decided on focusing on English instead of Maths; how did that go?
My tutor Michael really helped me a lot and he made me think about the questions and answering them in a different way, which really ended up helping me during my exam. Because I really enjoy English, it was very nice to talk to someone who is also passionate about English to help develop my reading skills. I started off with a grade 6 and I ended up getting a grade 8 in English.

What positive impact did the programme have on you? 
The programme really helped me with setting up my study time. Before joining the programme I would procrastinate when it came to working. I  found that I didn’t really have an interest in doing work, but because of GT Scholars and getting homework regularly, I had that one hour a week to focus, so it was really good in terms of keeping up with my studies.

What was your favorite part of the programme?
My favorite part of the programme was the enrichment and skill building days that I got to go to. The Dragon’s Den was my favorite workshop. I got to meet new people and learn new skills, so it was definitely my favorite part of the programme.

Did you learn anything new about yourself while being on the GT Scholars programme?
I learned without a push from the tutors always supporting and checking in with me, I wouldn’t really be studying as much as I would’ve before joining the GT Scholars Programme. I feel like when I have someone by my side always encouraging me and checking up on me, it works out better for me.

And now that you are moving on to A levels –  will you be applying things that you have learned during the programme to your future studies? And what will that be?
Yes, less procrastination. I’m definitely going to make a revision timetable. I’ll also revise any work that I’ll do on a daily basis. Coming back home and reviewing the work and making flashcards so that I know that at the end of the term I don’t have to be stressed out, because I have my flashcards already prepared and ready to start my revision studies.

Do you have any advice for a young person that is considering to join the GT Scholars programmes?
My advice to them would be to have an open mind and to have a growth mindset because the programme is online. The environment will be different and it might be easy to get distracted, but if you approach it with an open mind and be willing to build a good relationship with your tutor, it will really help with the learning process. Then also remember that if you ever get stuck contact your tutor because they’re always willing to help.

What was the most helpful thing that your tutor taught you or helped you with?
I had two different relationships with my tutors because the subjects were completely different. Martin was my maths tutor and he was very understanding because he recently did his GCSE’s, and he could easily relate to me and explain things to me in a clear way. The one thing that I learned from Martin, was to not have an “I can’t do it” mindset. He really pushed me, even if I didn’t know how to approach a question he would always push me to be able to answer the question myself because he knew that I could do it. Michael was my English tutor and he had a lot of experience within the schools and education systems. He taught me to be confident with my answers and taught me to always read my answers back to myself, even when I think that I’m finished,  there is always something to add or improve on what I’ve written. He definitely taught me about self-confidence and using my imagination in creative writing.

Your tutors helped you develop a growth mindset and having self-confidence – When approaching a challenge do you approach it with a growth mindset and self-confidence?
Yes, and not only on an academic level but also in my day to day life. When I was swimming, I felt that I wanted to give up and I would remind myself that I can do it. Nowadays there are a lot of things I would do when before I wouldn’t have imagined that I could do it. When approaching something new I feel I can do it if I just put my mind to it. I also combine a growth mindset with self-confidence which my English tutor has taught me.

Is there anything you would like to say to your tutors that supported you on the programme?
I would just like to thank them for everything that they did because it is clearly evident that the programme made a positive impact on my Maths and English grades. I managed to go up two grades in both subjects which is what I wanted to achieve, and I would like to thank them for their time and dedication. They were really supportive, really nice, friendly people and from the first session, I felt like I clicked with them. So I would like to thank them for everything they have done for me!

An interview with one of our volunteer online tutors – Arash Khosravi

An interview with one of our volunteer online tutors – Arash Khosravi

Online volunteering Volunteer spotlight Volunteers What's new?

Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
I went through school and after that, I did Economics at A-level and then studied Economics full time at UCL. During my time at UCL, I was the president of the UCL branch of the charity Team Up. After graduation, I was offered a job at the Bank of England where I worked as a Data Analyst.

What made you decide to become a volunteer tutor?
I really feel like I want to give back to society and give back to people that are in a less fortunate position than I am, through no fault of their own, and help them achieve their full potential. I did some informal tutoring a few years ago and I got really good feedback. That made me think and I then decided to take my strengths and use them to help people that really need the support. Since volunteering at UCL, I was trying to find other opportunities to volunteer that could fit in with my work schedule. I find that tutoring is a really good option and that I can make a real difference in a young person’s life.

What did you enjoy most about tutoring your scholar?
What I enjoyed most was really seeing the development of my scholar throughout the 12 week term. I think the highlight for me was in week 4 when I logged into Skype for our session and my scholar said: ‘’Sir, sir you know the thing we’ve done with the area of the square? I tried it in class and my teacher said I got the question right!” She was really chuffed about it and that was great to hear. I think engaging with the scholar and building a good relationship is what I’ve enjoyed most. I was very lucky to be matched with someone who is really engaged and ready to learn.

What challenges have you helped your scholar to face?
What I found at the beginning of this term in my scholar was the fact that she was doubting herself. I think the challenge was to reinforce the knowledge she already had and building her confidence. In the beginning, I would ask a question and she would attempt to solve 60% of the question but wouldn’t have the confidence to work through the remaining 40%. She would then say she did not know how to do it. I focussed on building her confidence and to say to herself, I do know how to do it and I won’t give up. It’s really great to see how much her maths has developed and improved.

What goals have you helped your scholar to achieve?
I think a good example of one of our goals would be the mock test my scholar had coming up. A week before the mock test we did two tutoring sessions so I could help her prepare for the test. After the test, she came back and said that a lot of the work we revised did come up in the test and she really felt confident answering them. We also set up goals for some of the topics she felt a bit weaker in and although she was struggling with it earlier on in the term she was able to tackle them after a few week’s sessions.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
Because I feel that students at school have a wide range of abilities and are at different levels. I don’t think that the modern skill system can factor that in with a class of 30 students, with different abilities and learning styles. Some young people need additional support and a lot of them don’t have the opportunity to get 1-to-1 support and can fall behind. I think tutoring can help fill that gap between school and home. Free tutoring is great to bridge the gap between young people who can afford private tutoring and those who cant.

Do you have a message for young people?
I would say they should keep working, keep trying and keep persevering with whatever they want to do in life. There’s no one path to get you where you want to go. Be who you are and don’t try to be anyone else. And with that mindset try things and really persevere. Like with the GT Scholar Programme, even if you don’t get the results initially, keep trying and pushing forward and towards where you want to go.

How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
My dad is a maths lecturer, I could not get away from maths as a young person (laughs). Until about GCSE I was rubbish at maths, I used to get 40%. I think it was because I wanted to get away from maths because my dad will always be talking about it. At that age, I did not realise the importance of it. Until my dad sat me down and got me to engage and focus and made me realise the importance of it. In terms of other subjects, I did not have formal tutors but had support from my peers and family that helped me a lot.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?
I feel like I gained a lot of confidence. I was a bit nervous before my first session because I see it as a real responsibility and duty to help a young person on their journey with mathematics. I really wanted to do a good job and make an impact on my scholar’s life. Having my scholar come back by the fourth session saying how she benefited from our sessions had really boosted my confidence. I think there are a lot of children out there that don’t see their own potential and it’s really opened my eyes to that. I have also gained a great relationship with my scholar and we even joke around during sessions sometimes.

Would you recommend becoming a tutor with GT Scholars?
Definitely. I think the whole process is really good and I gained a lot from the experience. For a tutor to be able to come in and really feel the positive impact made with a scholar and really seeing the journey you’re both going through during the 12 weeks is just amazing. The programme is really great for those scholars who are at average or just below, to give them that extra boost they need. Volunteering as a tutor is a nice way to start volunteering, whether it’s your first time or if you’re an experienced volunteer. I definitely recommend it in terms of it being a great way to volunteer and help young people.