Volunteer Spotlight – tutoring and volunteering are extremely rewarding!

Volunteer Spotlight – tutoring and volunteering are extremely rewarding!

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. Have a look at our most recent spotlight interview with volunteer Rhys Rawlings.

Why did you decide to volunteer with GT Scholars?
Well, I’ve been a volunteer tutor for the last three years, for my family mostly. In March, I was put on furlough and found myself with a lot of time on my hands. One day, I saw on the news that children all over the country were being seriously affected by not having their full education. So I thought “Hey, you know what? I’m going to do something about that”. So I just naively went on to social media, and said, “I’ve got a Physics degree, and I’m happy to offer some Maths tutoring for free”. My reach wasn’t very good with my 2 followers! But I was able to start tutoring a few kids, so that was a good start. Then I thought to myself, there has got to be a business, or charity or something out there that has already done this work and identified the children who are struggling most. Off to Google I went and found you guys!

There was one thing on the website that stood out for me, “We believe that all young people have their own unique set of gifts, talents and strengths and they can achieve amazing things when they are given the chance to build on their natural strengths and develop new skills.”. When I saw that, I knew I had to get onboard. I have the exact same belief, so I instantly filled in the contact form and started the application process. Now I’m a tutor with GT Scholars, and it’s been great!

Tell us a little bit more about yourself, and what got you to where you are today?
At the moment, I’m a full-time tutor at Ashlawn School and a part-time tutor with Brilliant Grades and am training to be a Maths teacher. I have a degree in Physics, A* in Maths and A in Physics A-Level, and A* in Maths and Physics GCSE. In my free time, I actually do more Maths! There’s a cool Instagram page (mymathssolutions) that I follow who post some really cool algebra and geometry problems. Apart from Maths, I like spending time with my fiance and family.

I got to where I am today through hard work. Working hard at anything and everything I’ve done has always paid off. Putting the work in was always encouraged by my family and teachers.

Did you have a mentor or tutor before, and did you find it useful?
Yes, I had an English tutor after my GCSE’s. I actually got a D in my English GCSE, and I was in tears on results day! I found my tutor incredibly useful since all the lessons were tailored to my needs. After 4 months of weekly lessons, I was able to turn my D into a C! I’m very very grateful for the help I received from him.

What would you say you gained from having a tutor?
Well first, I gained a C in English! Looking back though, I’ve gained insight on how to be a good tutor/teacher. Which has been extraordinarily useful in the last few months since I’ve been tutoring full time.

How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
It’s been extremely important to me. I needed the support to get my qualifications, to go to university, to get jobs, to volunteer and to establish a career. Having an education, and the support that goes along with that, is one of the most important things you can do. It can set a solid foundation for a meaningful life.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people today?
I think the value in tutoring comes from its difference to teaching in a classroom. The first difference is that you spend all your time focusing on one child. The second is that you only cover the topics that they’re struggling with. So given enough time, there’ll come a point where they are no longer struggling with any topics. Now they’re able to get the best possible grades in an exam. Then go on to study at the best possible university, and get the best possible job. The value in tutoring is the ability to turn all academic weaknesses into strengths, which is a prerequisite to go onto to lead the most successful life possible.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?
I’ve gained the ability to help those who need it most. This is what I was intending to do when I first set out to do tutoring. To spend my free time, helping the largest number of children, achieve the highest possible grades.

What part of the volunteering process have you found was the most fulfilling?
The most fulfilling part is the lightbulb moment I see on my student’s face when they understand a part of maths we’ve been working on. Then when I can see their marks improving through the year, I know all the work has paid off. Nothing beats that.

What do you think is the most important skill that a volunteer or a tutor should have?
I would say the most important skill to have is to be adaptable. You have to be able to change your teaching style to suit your tutee’s needs. I really like working one to one with young people, being able to give your full attention to a child makes them feel more supported. This leads to us strengthening all of their weak points, allowing them to achieve the highest grades.

What message do you have for other tutors out there, tutors that want to give their time or want to join GT Scholars?
My message is that tutoring and volunteering are extremely rewarding. I can confidently say that tutoring is the most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done in my professional life. For whatever reason, your tutee’s needs aren’t being met in the classroom. And that isn’t necessarily the teachers’ fault. But because of this, the responsibility of your tutee’s education rests on you. That’s a very large responsibility to take on, so before you start, really think about why you want to start tutoring. The reason must be meaningful to you. If you do have a good reason to, and decide to start tutoring with GT Scholars, it will be an amazing journey.

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