Meet one of our Volunteer Mentors – Sophie Germain

Meet one of our Volunteer Mentors – Sophie Germain

Private tuition Private tutors Volunteers What's new?

Who are the volunteer mentors of GT Scholars? Every once in a while we conduct an interview with one of our amazing volunteers so we can introduce them to you and share the good work they have been doing. Our volunteers form a crucial part of GT Scholars and their charitable deeds never goes unnoticed. We spoke to the lovely Sophie Germain to find out her views on social mobility and what she enjoys most about volunteering with GT Scholars.

Could you tell us about what led you to volunteering as a mentor with GT Scholars??
I try to explore a different area each year and I felt that volunteering with teenagers is one of the demographics I have not worked with before. I wanted to do something that was accessible to a lot of people and that was not limited to only a certain area you live in, the school you go to etc.

What are some of your opinions about social mobility?
In London, a perceived good area and a not so good area can be found in a commutable distance from one another. There are a lot of things to see and do and a lot is available for free. Perhaps in smaller towns, this mix is harder to find. Also once you’ve passed the stage of institutional education and you’ve started your career you are less likely to be type-casted based on where you went to school and it’s more about your experience. I went to a state school and some of my friends were in private schools but both groups have ended up in equivalent positions. Sometimes if you have a plan and you are dedicated to it, it is easier to achieve a particular goal if you have access to the correct information and the right people around you. However, there are certain historical and cultural issues that are still at play today that puts up barriers for some people. For example, an issue like the gender pay gap review due to male dominated boardrooms and industries. Balancing this will take a long time and to do it in a way that is fairer.

How did you come to this conclusion?
London has quite a high diversity level and when I was growing up it was common for children to socialise with other children who have a very different background to their own. In regards to gender, changes in attitude need to come from men and women. Including better grounds for the way children are raised and not pigeonholing them based on aspects such as gender. It also requires being open-minded in recruiting positions to not focus on gender, race, economic background, social circles etc.

What would you tell someone who is considering volunteering with GT Scholars?
It is a well-operated volunteer programme so I would recommend people to get involved. You get the chance to share new ideas and methods of learning with a young person who can benefit from it. It is nice to hear the dreams of a young person and help them to access the tools that they need to achieve them.

What do you enjoy the most about being a volunteer at GT Scholars? Well, it is early days for me because I have only done two terms so far. I would like to get more involved in the open days. But I would say that I enjoyed giving my mentees a positive outlook on what can be achieved. For some people, teenage years can be quite difficult to go through. I tell my mentees about the different perspective of other people and prepare them to have the skills to deal with other people’s opinions and encourage them to be focused.

What is your message or advice to young people of today?

I would suggest that they try as many new things as they can whilst they are young. This helps to build up experience, meet different people and get familiar with what they like and dislike. I would also advise not to become overburdened with things and take the time to learn what brings them inner peace, as I think it is an important part of getting to know oneself. Don’t be overly judgemental and learn how to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle.

As a Kingston University graduate, I can apply the skills that I’ve learned and I can also share the passion of what the core company is. I study philosophy in my spare time and enjoy staying fit.

Sophie enjoys her professional career as it falls in her line of interest and previous studies. She works for AEG Europe as an analyst in the live sports and music industry. Her company offers a Giving Back Day to employees for volunteering.

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.

Why equality in education and private tutoring is a realistic and worthwhile pursuit

Why equality in education and private tutoring is a realistic and worthwhile pursuit

Narrowing the gap Social mobility What's new?

Imagine a world where every student is able to reach their full academic potential,  it would be an incredibly amazing world. A good education is one of the most important keys to achieve success in life. A population that is educated is needed for a prosperous nation.  Education develops foundation skills such as reading, writing and numeracy, which are essential for further learning. Ideally, all students all over the world should be learning in small classes, under the direction of dedicated, skilled and motivated teachers.  But the reality of the world is quite different.

Even the most democratic countries in the world do not provide equal education. The unfortunate truth is that money gives a student access to a  better-quality education. Students from financially stable and secure backgrounds have access to top-notch schools with state of the art laboratories, libraries and technology. Students from a disadvantaged background are left at the mercy of state schools. Even the very best state school cannot compete with the lowest ranking private school. State school classrooms are more often than not overcrowded and manned by overburdened, overwhelmed and stressed educators who must deal with bureaucracy and poor teaching environments. Even the brightest and most motivated students battle to achieve their full potential in these circumstances.  In many of these situations, students who need extra support are likely to fail and eventually drop out of school. The future is bleak for these kids who will either end up doing lowly paid, menial jobs or worst- case scenario, end up in a life of crime with the cycle continuing when they have their own children one day.

The negative impact educational inequality has does not stop at the students. It sets off a chain reaction of events.

Inflated costs to society
Failure to provide equal access to educational opportunities imposes inflated costs on society. A poorly educated population limits a country’s capability to produce, grow and innovate. It damages social cohesion and enforces additional costs on public budgets to deal with the consequences such as higher spending on public health and social support and greater criminality. The study found that students who have enriching school experiences will be more likely to pursue further education and successfully transition into the labour market.

Increases National Interest
Giving more students access to better education can increase national interest.  Students that receive quality education gain better reasoning intelligence and learn to form their own conclusions from facts that they are given. Educated people work towards the common good of the country and understands the importance thereof and works towards protecting the national interest.

‘’The children of today are the future of tomorrow’’
With more and more children gaining access to better schooling they also become well-cultured.  Good schooling can motivate and provide for higher quality education. If someone can learn to be a good student, they will learn to be good citizens one day. Imagine if we could measure the loss we’ve endured as the human race due to exceptionally talented students who could not reach their full potential because of educational inequality. What could they have possibly invented or contributed to society?

A nation that works together
It is possible to improve educational equality as a nation. Everyone can contribute to making equal education for all a reality. Governments can manage school choice to avoid segregation and increased inequities. They could also develop an incentive system to make disadvantaged students attracted to high-quality schools. Governments can also find a way to improve the access that disadvantaged families’ have to information about schools and give them the necessary support to help them make informed choices. To ensure equity and quality, the government can also promise  access to quality, early-childhood education.  The main focus should be to recruit and support good teachers. Teacher education is vital to ensure that teachers receive the requisite skills and knowledge to do their best. Creating mentoring programmes for novice teachers and developing supportive working environment will help retain good teachers.

It is not only up to the government to promote educational equality. It is just as much the communities responsibility to uplift the youth to ensure a better future awaits them. Communities members should become more involved in mentoring the children in their community. Local business, community and political leaders can play a key role in providing recreational and tutorial support to encourage learners to study rather than to become involved in anti-social activities.  They can also give financial support to improve school facilities.

Teachers also play an important role in promoting educational equality.  A good teacher can be a great influence on a student. A teacher can inspire, educate and motivate learners to give their best. However disadvantaged schools are not fertile grounds to bring out the best in a teacher. It is therefore important for teachers in these schools to come together with government support, to create a platform to motivate and help each other give their best.

Early intervention from a young age is needed to prevent educational equality gaps from widening. Whilst achieving educational equality may elude some governments, there are some organizations and social enterprises which have picked up the baton to close the gaps in educational inequality.  Society, therefore, has a moral obligation to make sure that all children receive equal access to education to give them the vital skills needed to become contributing adults in society. Educational equality ensures that all learners irrespective of their race, religion, gender and socio-economic standing have access to the same learning resources and educational opportunities.

GT scholars provides high-quality individualised tuition by tutors who are passionate about academic success. They match students with mentors who can assist them to set and achieve academic, career and personal development goals. They also run enrichment programmes to help build confidence and make students aware of the academic and career opportunities available to them. These programmes are provided at a low price or free of charge to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The aim of these programmes is to address educational inequality by giving children, particularly those from lower-income households, the strategies, skills and support required to achieve their academic and career goals. To find out more about GT Scholars, register your interest here or give us a call on 020 881 68066.

7 Benefits of One-to-one Online Tutoring

7 Benefits of One-to-one Online Tutoring

In The Know

It is a known fact that students perform better when receiving one to one tutoring.  Online tutoring is growing in popularity, and with reason. It can be just as effective as traditional tutoring. Here are 7 benefits of one-to-one tutoring, to name a few. It is very important to remember that within a classroom environment students may often shy away from asking a question to gain clarity on a topic. The student might be afraid of what his peers might think or perhaps the student is an introvert and does not want to speak up in front of his peers.

1.  It makes distance irrelevant
Due to the flexibility of online private learning, logistics are irrelevant as both the student and tutor have the option of scheduling and learning from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. Students have the added benefit of being able to study when it best suits them. This gives them the ability to have time to study and still be able to partake in hobbies, sports and other extracurricular activities. Students spend most of their day in a formal learning environment and with after-school tutoring they might not feel up for entering another formal learning space. With online tutoring, they can still receive after-school support but they are in charge of the location.  It can be somewhere informal and most importantly, where they feel comfortable.

2. Individual attention
Just as with traditional tutoring, one-to-one online tutoring is also able to provide the student with that much needed individual attention. One-to-one tutoring session builds confidence and helps the student be less intimidated by exams. It is a great way to give your child extra support with material that he finds challenging, whether it is in Maths, English or Science. Every young person has a different learning style. Taking this into account an online tutor can tailor lessons to adapt to the students learning style and pace. Students receiving individual attention can drive the conversation, and control the question that they want to ask. An online tutoring session creates a stress-free environment where the student experiences minimum fear of failure.

3.  Tutor availability
Online tutoring opens a world of tutors that hold academic degrees and have experience in a professional field. Online tutors are passionate about sharing their knowledge with students, in return making the students excited to learn more about the subject and passionate about learning in general. Communication technologies available today makes it easier for online tutors to connect with their students, and offer students many different ways of communicating with those who impart knowledge that a normal classroom would not. With online tutoring, a student can contact their tutor by sending a quick email or text via an instant messaging application if they require clarification regarding certain class material or assignments. With face-to-face tutoring, the student has to wait for the next face-to-face tutoring session before getting help with questions.

4.  Better grades
One-to-one online tutoring is effective in helping young people improve their grades as it makes them more motivated and engaged, discussing problems and trying to figure out the answers for themselves. Online tutors also have the opportunity to reinforce lessons and creating an effective learning environment. This results in students being equipped with the tools to succeed in their exams and having the tools to succeed at school, university and beyond. Online tutoring increases the student’s sense of responsibility as they cannot copy someone else’s work or rely on the ideas of their peers. This makes them take on a more serious approach when it comes to fully mastering the materials.

5.  Private tutoring provides additional information
Online one-to-one tutoring not only provides the student with the opportunity to address the things they need help with, but it also gives them the opportunity to lead the conversation topic to match their interests. They are given tasks and materials which are different from the material given at school and can also choose their own additional reading lists if they wanted to. This often helps a student to perceive the topic from a different point of view making them understand the topic better. A gifted child, for instance, can be stimulated by the private lessons they received as they would go beyond a normal classroom syllabus.Online tutoring can go beyond improving a child’s marks in school and can help them set and achieve life goals. This can result from having tutors and mentors who provide the tools to set and achieve said goals.

6.  Regular feedback on Academic Progress
An online tutor can provide parents with regular feedback on their child’s progress and address any areas of concern. Some online tutoring companies provide parents and carers with weekly or monthly reports on their child’s progress. This eases the concerns some parents may have of their child’s progress and also helps them to evaluate the effectiveness of the online tuition.

7. Online one-to-one tutoring is cost effective
Private tuition can be costly and not everyone can afford a traditional tutor. Online tutoring makes equality teaching available to more students. For a much lower fee, every student can gain access to quality online tutoring.

 Given the information we now have regarding private online lessons, it’ almost seems as a matter of necessity to have children enrolled in such programmes for them to better succeed in an ever-changing world that requires constant learning. Online learning can be a powerful tool that parents should opt for if their child is in need of help.

The GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise that tackles educational inequality and improves social mobility. We run an after-school tutoring programme that aims to help young people between the ages of 11-16.  Our programme also includes mentoring and enrichment activities with the aim to help young people prepare for their exams, improve their grades and gain access to the most selective universities and competitive careers. To stay up to date and find out more about our courses and workshops, subscribe to our newsletter.

 

7 ways you can make your school a better place

7 ways you can make your school a better place

What's new? Young people

We spend a great part of our lives in school and we all have our views on what would make our school a better place. There are many ways ranging from knowledgeable and highly motivated teachers who understand their subjects to state of the art equipment in laboratories. But, it is no doubt that making a school environment a better place for learners is a shared responsibility between different players such as teachers, parents and learners.

Actively striving to improve shortcomings within your school environment will create a pleasant atmosphere that stems from happier students which will, in turn, increase the productivity in students alike and eventually have a positive influence on grades.

Be inspired by these 7 steps that will help you to play your part in creating a positive and friendly environment for everyone in your school.

  1. Say NO to bullying: Bullying has become a very serious matter amongst schools around the world. The effect on a person who has fallen victim to bullying can be severe ranging from anger issues, depression, stress and suicidal tendencies. When you are a witness to another student being bullied, you must speak up and make your teacher aware of the situation.  It is not an easy thing to do as you might feel that you will be next in line to receive punishment, but always remember that you can report such a situation anonymously and your teacher will respect your wishes to remain unknown.  
  2. Be positive and friendly towards others: Students can often create a negative atmosphere through complaining about lunch meals being bad, a subject that is too difficult or a certain teacher making life difficult for them. This thought pattern can easily influence the views of students around the person complaining and dampen their spirits. Try to lift morale by offering solutions to complaints of fellow students or try to install a sense of humour on the subject to lighten the matter up. Laughter instantly lifts a bad situation and creates a light atmosphere. Nobody can learn when they are stuck in a negative mindset.
  3. Be your brother’s keeper:  If you notice a fellow student who may be struggling one way or the other, for instance, struggling in a social environment or in a particular subject, approach them and offer your help and support. If every student in the school took on this mindset it will spread a sense of belonging among your peers. If you are unable to reach out to them despite your best efforts and there is still no change in their behaviour, try to speak to one of the teachers and alert them to this in case there is more to the situation.
  4. Take care of the school property:  We all benefit from a clean and presentable school environment and would like to feel proud of their school.  Be an example to your fellow students and always respect and take care of your school facilities. Report any vandalism and try to organise school events where the whole school participates in picking up litter or removing graffiti. This is a great way to make everyone think twice before taking part in vandalising activities or littering of the school grounds. Everybody should be contributing towards a clean school environment.
  5. Participate in school activities: Volunteer to take part in various school activities such as drama, sports and any other activity. It helps to keep the team spirit alive in your school. As you volunteer for such activities, encourage other students to join as well spreading the idea of volunteerism. When you do this, not only will you be assisting other students, you will be helping teachers to perform their duties more effectively.
  6. Recognize that no one is beneath you: Not only must you show respect to your peers and teachers, you must also acknowledge and respect the other workers in the schools such as the groundsmen, cleaners and tea ladies, as everyone connected to the school work together to make education possible. Always offer a lending hand and never brush off an opportunity to learn, or think that certain school activities are only meant for less privileged students. Your hunger to learn will be contagious.
  7. Run for student government:  If you can win a position as a student representative you can really make a difference. It will allow you to create strategies and plans to improve different aspects of the school. You can engage in fundraising activities to improve school facilities or start new clubs to promote a positive environment in the school. This is your chance to make an impact. Being part of a student government also looks good on a university or college application.

In conclusion, please remember that improving a school environment often means improving the atmosphere between students, teachers and school administrators.  Change does not happen overnight but if you actively engage in some of these tips listed above, and also convince fellow students to take on the mindset, situations can be improved. Remember, you are a part of the team and you need to play your part.   

 

GT Scholars strives in providing mentoring, tutoring and enrichment to children from diverse backgrounds. Feel free to contact us to share your views or to register to our programmes. Our tutors and mentors are professional and well informed in their respective study fields, and can provide the perfect assistance to your academic needs.  We offer private tuition in Maths, Science and English as well as a Mentorship programme. Register your interest here or give us a call on 020 881 68066.

Become a GT Scholars Ambassador

Become a GT Scholars Ambassador

Volunteer roles

We are looking for skilled professionals who can use their professional experience to support our growth as a charity within the education sector.  Someone who is passionate about improving social mobility for young people from low-income homes will feel right at home at GT Scholars.

Who are GT Scholars Ambassadors?
Ambassadors are volunteer undergraduates, graduates and professionals that are naturally enterprising and want to use their particular skill set to raise the profile of GT Scholars and support in the growth and development of GT Scholars as a social enterprise.  By becoming an Ambassador, you’ll be committing to becoming our go-to person within your organisation or university: a vital contact for GT Scholars and a bridge between us and your colleagues.

What do GT Scholars Ambassadors do?
The ambassador role would suit someone that is part of existing networks at their university, corporate place of work or in the business world.  They help us gain access to:

  • Volunteers; this could be by promoting volunteer roles to their network or connecting GT Scholars to existing networks of graduates and undergraduates.
  • Low cost or free space that we can use for volunteer training and socials which take place on weekday evenings or space for scholar enrichment events which usually take place on weekends.
  • Corporate sponsorship or funding; this could be financial support or access to volunteers and or space for events.
  • Teacher networks; connecting us to school SLT, headteachers, academy trust leaders and teacher networks.
  • Parent networks and youth networks so that we can reach and impact more young people and parents through our programmes

Your role may also involve:

  • Providing advice and practical support to the founder and the team
  • Assisting with developing our recruitment, marketing, fundraising and public relations strategy
  • Promoting GT Scholars to your existing networks and championing the social mobility agenda
  • Speaking at external events to help attract more volunteers to the programme
  • Providing innovative solutions to raise the profile and the reach of GT Scholars
  • Representing GT Scholars on a top-level both online and offline.

What qualities does an ambassador have?
We’re looking for ambassadors who are:

  • Proactive, passionate and committed to tackling educational inequality
  • Educated to a minimum of degree level
  • Be committed to the organisation’s vision and aims
  • Enjoy working with a diverse team

How much time does an ambassador have to commit to?
You will need to be available for approximately 3-4 hours per month. This is a flexible volunteering role. Being an ambassador means joining our online group of ambassadors, connecting GT Scholars to your existing network and representing GT Scholars at internal and external events.

Any other information about the role:
This role does not involve working directly with young people. However, we will still need to conduct reference checks.
 Professionals who have a genuine passion for social mobility and educational equality can get in touch with us by calling 0208 8168066 or completing the online contact form.