Doug is a fantastic volunteer who has been tutoring with us since last October. He works in the city for an investment management firm but was working in the Civil Service when he first started volunteering for Action Tutoring. Doug has lived in London for 10 years since studying at the London School of Economics, but first got into tutoring at university where he volunteered at a school in Bermondsey. He later volunteered for New York Cares whilst working abroad in NYC, which involved supporting recent immigrants and GED Students. This was when Doug first began having a real interest in tutoring, despite always having found teaching children very rewarding. Doug manages to fit in volunteering around his job and hobbies such as cycling, playing football and socialising.
Doug tutors at Eastside Young Leaders Academy (EYLA), helping one boy with maths. Doug has tutored at EYLA twice and previously at Mount Carmel School in Islington and Bethnal Green Academy in Tower Hamlets. He first heard about Action Tutoring back in 2013, through a friend who had previously volunteered with us.
Doug says he finds being a volunteer tutor both rewarding and stimulating. He feels that the experience is beneficial for both him and the pupils, ‘It’s a good way to open your eyes to people who are younger and have different circumstances and background to your own.’
The most memorable moment for Doug was when his pupil couldn’t remember the name of Nelson’s Column statue in Trafalgar Square. This inspired Doug to think of an example that would engage the pupil, helping him to remember. Doug chose to share with the pupil that he had actually seen Nelson Mandela at the square in 2005. This really helped as the pupil seemed really interested in the history of Mandela and from that point on never forgot the name of the statue!
To people who might be nervous about volunteering, Doug suggests reading up on the subject and getting to know the pupil you are tutoring in the first session. He feels that telling them a bit about yourself can really break the ice, ‘Volunteers have the advantage of not being an authority figure such as a teacher or parent so allowing them to empathise with you might allow you to do so with them as well.’ Doug explains that as long as you are interested in the subject most of it will come back to you!
Through his experience of volunteering Doug has learned just how intelligent young people really are. He feels that volunteering can be very satisfying and also allows you the opportunity to learn a bit about how fortunate you are; ‘London is such an intermingled city but until you speak to people, you don’t know about their lives.’ Doug encourages others to volunteer with young people in a different environment to work, sharing that, ‘It’s great to do something interactive, worthwhile and get away from your computer screen!’