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Volunteer Spotlight – It’s good to be able to share your own skills with other people!
At GT Scholars we have a great team of volunteer tutors and mentors that are passionate about helping young people learn, grow, and achieve their goals in life. We have regular spotlight interviews with our volunteers where they share a bit more about themselves and why they chose to volunteer. Here is a recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors – Jane
Please tell us a bit about yourself?
I am currently a teaching assistant at a college and have over 30 years of financial service experience. I’ve also been tutoring Maths for about 9 years now.
What made you decide to become a volunteer tutor?
I started with private tutoring for family & friends and then I joined other volunteering organisations to gain more experience. My previous volunteer role required me to travel a lot so I did some research and found that GT scholars offered online volunteering opportunities, which was perfect for me.
How did you get started as a volunteer tutor with GT Scholars?
I was looking for a volunteer tutoring opportunity when I found GT Scholars on the internet offering online tutoring programmes, and I thought it might be really interesting. I applied to GT scholars and I’ve been a volunteer with them for the past two years. I followed the application process, we had a few interviews and they needed a couple of references.
What did you enjoy most about tutoring your scholar?
I like the interaction with the tutees and I like using the whiteboard application to work online because you can see what the tutee is doing as they are doing it. It’s also very easy for you to show them what to do and how to do the work properly.
What part of this tutoring process have you found the most fulfilling?
It’s quite rewarding when you work with a tutee who’s struggling with something and over time improves and understands the work eventually. It’s also great when a tutee comes back for their next session and remembers what you discussed in your previous session. I think to see my tutee’s growing with confidence, building skills, and seeing the overall improvement from when you started. It’s also great when the tutee starts to confidently contribute to the conversation.
What goals have you helped your scholar to achieve?
My most recent tutee, Tatiana, improved on her Maths skills. Her mum gave me feedback recently and it was really rewarding to hear! A gain in confidence plays a big role because when you believe in yourself you have a chance of making progress quicker.
What challenges have you helped your scholar to face?
During this term and being in lockdown, scholars didn’t have any direct teaching, so the school would give the scholars a pack of work and ask them to watch videos. I had to do some of the teachings for my most recent tutee and it worked quite well. When I demonstrated examples to Tatiana, she could quite happily apply those concepts.
What challenges did you face while tutoring your scholar?
I didn’t have challenges tutoring Tatiana because she is very motivated. The challenges I faced in being a tutor for GT Scholars were getting used to tutoring in an online environment and also using the whiteboard application. It was easy to work online and with the application, but it took time to get used to it.
What qualities does Tatiana have that makes her a good tutee?
Tatiana is very motivated and always arrived on time for her sessions. She is also a good listener who provided feedback during her sessions. Whenever she didn’t understand something, she wouldn’t keep quiet but would tell me that she doesn’t quite understand, which is great!
Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
Tutoring gives young people the opportunity to catch up on work and receive support from another person on a one to one basis. Teachers don’t have the time to go through work, provide one to one support or give attention to all the children. If the tutee doesn’t understand something in class, he/she can get support from their tutor to understand.
What do you think is the most important skill to have as a tutor!
The most important skills to have as a tutor would probably be having a lot of patience, being able to explain and communicate clearly, and not expecting the tutee to understand the work straight away.
What was the experience as a volunteer tutor like for you?
I like to think that I am helping somebody and the overall experience. I’m really glad that GT Scholars provides these opportunities!
How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
When I was in school, my teachers supported me and helped me to get a college mentor. Having the support was a great benefit for me, and my college mentor helped me to get into university and so it’s quite nice to be able to do the same for somebody else.
Would you recommend becoming a volunteer with GT Scholars?
Yes, I would recommend becoming a volunteer for GT Scholars and I’ve recently put one of my friends in contact with them.
What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?
You learn to get better in a supporting role. The tutees teach you as well as you teach them because you learn how to be a better communicator with people and make an effort.
What would you say to anyone thinking of becoming a tutor/mentor with GT Scholars?
I would say go for it! Being a tutor provides a great opportunity to learn how to interact with younger people. If you’ve got skills, it’s also good to be able to share those skills with other people and GT Scholars allows you to do so!