Meet one of our volunteer English tutors – Roberta Wiafe

Meet one of our volunteer English tutors – Roberta Wiafe

Private tutors Volunteer interviews Volunteers Young people

Every now and then we interview one of our remarkable GT Scholars volunteers to find out who the person behind the volunteer is. Without our dedicated volunteers, our mission would not have been able to make the impact that it has.  We had a chat with one of our tutors about volunteering, who she is and her message to young people of today is. Here is what she had to say:

  1. How did you first get involved in volunteering with GT Scholars?
    I first learned of GT Scholars on the Team London website when I was looking for an opportunity to offer my time volunteering. Since I really enjoyed English as a subject at school and liked plays I thought that being a Volunteer Online Tutor would be the best fit for me. Upon visiting the GT Scholars website and reading more about their cause, I decided that I really wanted to be part of their mission.
  2. Why are you supporting GT Scholars as opposed to other groups working to improve social mobility?
    The reason why I like being part of the GT Scholars volunteer team is that I enjoy being able to work with a wide demographic range of students in terms of their abilities and backgrounds.
  3. What might surprise your friends/family other volunteers to know about you?
    I think most my friends and family would be surprised if they knew that I am a theatre critic in my spare time.
  4. How has volunteering changed you as a person and what have you learned from your time volunteering?
    I think during my time volunteering I have learned how to utilise different methods of explaining concepts to people. When approaching a new topic it’s often the case that I and my student have to go over subject matter a number of times to reinforce the ideas. To ensure that the ideas really stay with him and that he understands the concepts from a range of difficult angles, I have to really think about different ways of presenting the information. This has helped me to think more innovatively and to really listen to my student so that I can tailor my approach in a way that’s most helpful to him. And these are both skills that I can apply to my everyday life.
  5. Is there anyone in particular you could tell me about who has influenced your decision to start volunteering in general?
    When I was a student, about 16 years old,  I was involved with the Social Mobility Foundation. At the time they ran a program which made it possible for me to be matched with a mentor and I also received an opportunity to take up an internship at parliament.  Because I’ve had the privilege of support and guidance as a young person, I feel that I want to ‘’pay it forward’’ and give that same opportunity back to someone else.

Roberta is truly inspiring and serves for interesting conversation. When asked what her message to young people of today is, she said: ‘’ Work hard and do your best. If you do those things you will get where you want to be. Take time to celebrate, when you achieve something, celebrate your success. Lastly always be proud of yourself and enjoy the journey.’’ That is definitely words of wisdom to live by! Roberta holds an MSc in International Public Policy from the University College London and a BA Hons degree in History and Politics from the University of Sussex.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Janet Cheney

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Janet Cheney

Private tuition Private tutors Volunteer interviews Volunteers What's new?

Our volunteers are truly exceptional people that are passionate about making a difference in education and doing their part in improving social mobility. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors, Janet Cheney.

  1. Why did you decide to volunteer your time with GT Scholars?
    I have been tutoring for about 5 years and I am currently in the process of partly relocating from London to South Devon. This will restrict my regular 1-to-1 tutoring sessions in London. I was pleased when I discovered the online volunteer tutoring opportunity at GT Scholars. Tutoring has become very expensive and I loved the idea of combining my love for teaching maths and physics and helping students from low-income backgrounds.
  2. Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
    I completed my BSc (First Class Hons) in Mathematics and Astrophysics and also did my PhD in Astronomy at Queen Mary College, University of London.

    I spent most of my professional career operating at senior level. I have 15 years experience working in key management roles.  In particular, I was IT project manager for BT’s London Code Change Project which involved changing all the telephone numbers in London due to a shortage of codes.

    After 15 Years working on a senior management level, I decided upon an early retirement to spend more time with my family. This was when I began to volunteer my time tutoring within various non-profit organisations.
  3. How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
    When I was growing up there was not a lot of role models for women. My family was very supportive and I was privileged enough to have had role models within my family. My school was also very supportive.  I was the first in my family to have gone to university.  I’ve always appreciated that I was able to have done so as I was not oblivious to the fact that not all young people were as privileged as I was. I think my dream to study astronomy has motivated me in working hard at maths and physics as I knew knowledge of these subjects were necessary to reach my goal. I am glad I can share my knowledge and help other young people with similar dreams.
  4. Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
    I believe it is the individual attention a young person receives when he has a tutor. Mathematics is an important subject because it can open a lot of opportunities. Often teachers can’t reach all the students’ needs at an individual level as not all the students need help in the same areas. I think a tutor fills that gap. Tutoring can also be a great help for exam preparations and spending that extra quality time with the student on subject areas that they have difficulty with.  I also think that a tutor can be useful when it comes to discussing time management when taking an exam. Especially in mathematics, there are often ways to find faster methods to solve problems.
  5. What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?
    I think the most fulfilling part of the volunteering process is to bear witness to the improvement of a young person who really struggled with a  subject. As the tutor, you knew first hand where the difficult areas were and how much the student has improved.

Janet is a good listener with great subject knowledge. She believes that this is what helps her to be a better tutor: ‘If you have a good understanding of who your student is, you will have a better idea of how to approach tutoring that student.’ Janet spends her spare time studying butterflies using catch and release methods as she has a true passion for science and nature.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us

Meet one of our Volunteer tutors – Arunita

Meet one of our Volunteer tutors – Arunita

Private tutors Volunteer interviews Volunteer roles Volunteers What's new?

Our volunteers are amazing people that are passionate about making a difference in education. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors, Arunita Roy

    1. Why did you decide to volunteer your time with GT Scholars?
      I really enjoy helping people and working with students. I worked in university with different students, helping student services as a student financial consultant and also founding an entrepreneurship student society. I like to interact and engage with students from different backgrounds, and I also love teaching and being a role model to young people. I wanted to continue this and widen participation, so when I met Temi, the founder of GT Scholars, and heard more about the programme, it really interested me and I decided to get involved. 
    2. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what got you to where you are today?
      I am currently studying at King’s College London, finishing my final year in Computer Science with Management. I am interested in science, technology and languages, and I enjoy learning new things. I am a motivated person and I like to be involved and take part in many different things. I like to find new things to do and gain new experiences in different opportunities or programmes. Even in high school, I was always eager to get involved with student life such as being a student representative and making sure that my voice and my fellow students’ voices were heard. Now I enjoy helping students with their university journey and beyond, and I am interested in working with companies and programmes to help make more opportunities for students to improve their experience and academics, especially in science and entrepreneurship.

      I am not really motivated by one person or role model, but rather, I am inspired by the hard work that people put in. When I see someone, such as a student struggling with a particular topic, pushing themselves to reach their maximum potential, it really drives me to do more to reach my maximum potential. I also believe that having a good academic background helps you to have a more positive outlook on life, which is great motivation to do better and study further.
    3. How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
      I did not have the same amount of access to resources and opportunities that students have today. I did have a few really pivotal teachers and lecturers that helped me to excel. I am also inspired by my parents who are both university-educated, and they really motivate, inspire and guide me.
      Even though students of today are a lot luckier than I was with regards to access to and the number of available resources, I do think they have other things to contend with such as intense competition and many distractions that can be impediments to success. This is why support is still very important to motivate them to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them and to encourage them when they struggle.

 

  • What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?
    I really love volunteering. The mere fact that I can help students makes me happy. I also enjoy seeing their progress over time and watching how their confidence grows in topics or subjects from when we first started with the sessions. I am proud when they do really well and their grades improve, and happy when they are enjoying and become interested in what I teach. I have also gained interesting new perspectives on topics from working with them.

 

 

  • What do you think is the most important skill to have to be a volunteer tutor?
    Patience is very important, but also being able to understand the topic from the student’s point of view is an important skill to have. You can’t look at the topic with your in-depth knowledge as the only perspective. I present the topic from the student’s perspective by relating topics to real life examples or explain it to them in a way that makes sense to them.

 

Arunita Roy is a hardworking and creative individual who is enthusiastic and motivated with a keen interest in learning new skills. She has strong technical skills with a passion for business. She is involved in many volunteering opportunities, and helping young people is one of her main focuses. She also enjoys being involved in many extracurricular activities and was the winner of the King’s College London Business Club Apprentice Challenge where she and her team were able to show initiative in providing solutions to real industrial business challenges.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Elizabeth

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Elizabeth

Volunteer interviews

Our volunteers are amazing people that are passionate about making a difference in education. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors, Elizabeth Polido.

  1. Why did you decide to volunteer your time with GT Scholars?
    I decided to volunteer as a tutor because I wanted to share my knowledge, especially in the field of science. I want to help young people to understand what the subject is about, but also to enjoy it. By doing this, I hope it will help them to improve their grades at school.

  2. Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
    I was born in the UK but I grew up in The Philippines for 19 years. In The Philippines, they heavily focus maths and science in school. This led to me developing an interest in science. When I returned to the UK, I decided to study forensic science at college. This was because I really wanted to do something that was practical or based in a laboratory. I then studied Biomedical Science at the University of Surrey. This is when I became more keen to share my knowledge of science to others, and then I decided that tutoring would be the best way to share my knowledge with young people.

  3. How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
    Support has been really important to me because without it I would not have known what to do or have some direction and guidance. I also believe in communication being an important part of the support, and I like to hear feedback from others so that I can turn my weaknesses into strengths. For example, when I first started tutoring I did not know how to use the software, but I was able to communicate my problems with someone who could help and then received feedback from them so that they could show me how to use it. Both support and communication are important to me.

  4. Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
    Tutoring is valuable because you get to help them improve their understanding of a subject and then improve their grades. Young people need the motivation to learn and to understand a topic. Tutoring is able to motivate them, especially one-to-one tutoring. The tutor is able to see the student’s individual needs, strengths and weaknesses, and to help them specifically. This will allow them to reach their greatest potential.

  5. What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?
    When we start the sessions, my student and I do not know each other well. I really enjoy getting to know who they are so that I can help them. I enjoy seeing that they are learning, while also learning from them. I enjoy seeing their improvement, but also helping them to understand how to do their best and keep on trying when they fail. I am thankful for this opportunity to help young people, while also learning valuable things from this experience that helps me grow.

Elizabeth is a knowledgeable individual with strong communication, organisational and technical skills. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge, but also open to understanding how young people think and is very accommodating. With a background in science, most of her work experience is in the medical or pharmaceutical fields. She is also an associate of the Royal Society of Biology, a licentiate of the Institute of Biomedical Science, and is able to speak four different languages.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

Meet one of our volunteer mentors – Jason

Meet one of our volunteer mentors – Jason

Volunteer interviews Volunteer roles Volunteers What's new? Young people

Our volunteers are amazing people that are passionate about making a difference in education. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer mentors, Jason Luu.

Why did you decide to volunteer with GT Scholars?
I decided to volunteer with GT Scholars to make a difference in my local community. Having already done some work to help other communities in different countries, I came to the realisation that I should also be contributing to my local community. I also recognised that providing support to people when they are still young can make a significant difference, as this is something that I was not fortunate enough to have when I was younger. If I had the opportunity to be mentored when I was a teenager, I can only imagine how much more I could have achieved by now or how many disasters I could have avoided.

Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
I was born in London, my parents were refugees from another country. This had a huge impact on me and my upbringing. When I was younger, I was embarrassed by my heritage because it was so foreign to western culture. But as I got older and matured, I embraced my background and decided to stand up and stand out rather than follow the crowd. I more took control of my life and did not live according to other people’s expectations. This has become a big factor in getting me to where I am today. It turns out that my own expectations for myself were wildly beyond other people’s expectations of me.

I also have role models who I can look up to and inspire me. Some of them are alive today and some are historical figures. Having these role models allow me to draw energy, ideas and behaviours from. If anyone reading this doesn’t have a role model, then you better start looking.

Why do you think mentoring is valuable to young people?
Traditionally, mentoring is something that has been reserved for older, professional and sometimes even wealthy people. Many of the most powerful leaders in our society have or had mentors. So why can’t the rest of us have access to this resource?

Many young people today from my local community have parents who are very busy working or studying, and their friends are usually in the same boat as them. Thus, having a mentor who has the right experience would really help with some of the things that they struggle with, and would help to develop smarter behaviours and habits. This additional guidance and development can really help a young person to be successful in all that they do. I really believe that if I had a mentor when I was younger, I would not have had to experience so many difficulties in my life. I would have been able to get where I am today sooner or even be more successful sooner. It is the aim of all good mentors is to guide their mentee to reach their full potential.

What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?
Seeing students and their parents working together, and it provides extra support to traditional parenting.

What do you think is the most important skill to have as a volunteer mentor?
I think showing a genuine interest in someone else’s future and actually caring about their happiness is an important skill. It is not just about making sure that they are successful, but also about helping to define what true happiness means to them and their family.

Jason briefly attended university before deciding to drop out and start his professional life earlier. He now works in the headquarters of the Department of Health, holding CEOs, directors and major leaders in healthcare and education accountable to the taxpayer as a Senior Contract Manager. He has spent the last 3 years dedicated to promoting equality and fighting social injustice at his place of work and at home in his local community.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us. 

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Alex

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Alex

Our Impact Volunteer interviews Volunteer roles Volunteers What's new?

Every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of our amazing volunteers to find out more about them, why they decided to volunteer with GT Scholars and how their experience has been so far with us. Here’s a recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors – Alex.

Why did you decide to volunteer some time tutoring with GT Scholars?

I was looking for a chance to gain experience in teaching. The GT Scholars Programme offers a great opportunity to do so while also volunteering in the education sector. GT Scholars provide online sessions and lots of supporting material for tutors and tutees. It has been a great experience for me so far.

How important was it for you to gain support when you were younger?

Support has contributed a lot to my self-growth and development. It has given me the necessary tools to move forward and understand what it takes to succeed academically. Tutors, teachers, and professors all played a vital role in my studies, teaching me how to organise my schedule and efficiently manage my time.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?

Guidance and support are essential ingredients in order, for a young individual to flourish and become the best she/he can be. Tutoring can equip students with knowledge and enhance their self-confidence. Furthermore, tutoring provides structure by forming a functional schedule for children to follow and to maximise their potential.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?

I’ve gained teaching experience which is a big plus for my job search in the education industry. I met new people and exchanged ideas on how to become a better tutor, along with other interesting teaching concepts.

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

You need to be patient and approach tutoring from the student’s perspective. Figure out how to tackle difficult concepts but also be in the position to justify even the easiest terms so that the student can follow.

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

Watching a young mind maturing is the most fulfilling part of my volunteering experience with GT Scholars.

Alex is a postgraduate student working towards his MSc in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at University College London. He is currently a volunteer Maths tutor with GT Scholars.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us via the website.