In anything you do, time management is very important. Practising good time management will help you to balance various tasks and make sure that you are able to assign a good amount of time to complete each task well. An inability to allocate your time accordingly always leaves room for things to not work out the way you wanted.
As a volunteer tutor or mentor, you will also be balancing various tasks which will need to be completed properly to make sure that your scholar gets the most out of their sessions. Here’s a few ways for you to manage your time effectively as a volunteer tutor or mentor.
One of the best ways to manage your time as a volunteer tutor/ mentor is to create a schedule in advance. This can be a day-to-day schedule or a schedule for each session. Once you have an idea of your tasks for each day or session, it is easier for you to designate a specific amount of time to particular tasks in order to prioritise those tasks accordingly. If you are studying or working as well, this is definitely something worth considering as it helps to create a sustainable balance between your study or work demands and your volunteer tutor or mentor demands. Creating a schedule that has designated time for each task helps you to be more efficient all round.
Avoid wasted time
Time waits for no man. This well-known proverb makes it clear that time will never adjust itself for you, so you have to adjust yourself to the time you have been given. One of the worst things to do is waste your own time as it is something you cannot get back. To avoid wasting time, it is good to factor in an element of flexibility in your schedule. Sessions may not always happen at the designated times – this is unfortunate, but change is a part of life and something may come up on your scholar’s end or there may be unforeseen circumstances on your end. You can plan for the possibility of this by having an ‘in the event of’ schedule, which you can then work with. This will ensure that you make the most out of the time you have been given.
Communicate with your scholar
It’s bad enough when you unintentionally waste your own time, but even worse when someone else does it. To avoid the frustration that may come with repeated cancellations or constant rescheduling of your volunteer tutor or mentor sessions, maintain an open dialogue with your scholar and their parent in order to provide sufficient time that allows both you and them to be able to adjust your schedules accordingly. This also helps to prevent any tensions that may arise over any inconsistencies.
Respect your time and your scholar’s time
In undertaking your role as a volunteer tutor or mentor, there will be situations in which your scholar will not be able to attend a session you have already agreed to. You should definitely be understanding of this and seek to accommodate their situation. However, when there is a continuous pattern of not committing to the sessions, then you must be able to communicate your concerns and set some rules. These should be in place from the start, but reinforcing them is always helpful in order to respect your time. The same can be said should you feel you are not able to make a session or if you have to cancel at the last minute. Set rules for yourself to make sure that you respect their time.
Maximise on your time
The time you are given for your sessions is not infinite, so it is important to maximise on it. You can do this by finding ways to make the most out of your sessions that don’t feel time consuming and repetitive. The use of your time can seem wasted or not fully utilised when there is no change in how your sessions take place. This can be experienced by your scholar too. Keep sessions as enlightening and productive as possible, but they must not feel like detention or punishment for you both. Make the sessions enjoyable and easy to do – this will ensure that your scholar is able to make the most out of it which will allow you to make the most out of it as well.
Prepare content for each session
Rather than opening a book and picking up where you left, prepare the content for your sessions in advance. You can use textbooks for references and practical examples, but also cater for your scholar and make the sessions more than just opening a book to a certain page and hoping for the best. In planning ahead, you are able to get through content that you have already broken down and gone over much quicker and easier with your scholar. You will actually be able to cover more topics when you are better prepared and as you can also ask your scholar to also read in advance. In that way, you are both on the same page and you can progress more smoothly through your sessions.
Know what works best
In as much as you are catering to the needs of your scholar, you must also be aware of what works best for your time as a volunteer tutor mentor and what doesn’t. Some days work better than others, and certain times work better than others depending on your schedule. Where you are not able to work with a particular time that clashes with important events or deadlines, let it be known to your scholar and their parents so that you can find a more suitable time for your sessions. Do not agree to times you cannot accommodate and do not agree to be a volunteer tutor or mentor if your schedule does not permit it. The good thing with GT Scholars is that you can always apply when you are ready to commit and our applications are always readily available on our website for you to have a read over and see where you would best fit in.
GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. Our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme is designed to help young people aged 11-18 achieve their academic and career aspirations. Visit our website if you’d like to know more about the GT Scholars Programme and how you can make a significant difference in young people’s lives.