Sara is one of our fantastic volunteers and has been tutoring with us since last autumn. She has already completed three volunteer tutoring programmes and manages to fit it in nicely with her job working in an infant school. She finds volunteering with our teens a great contrast to the very young children she is used to and feels that the skills you need to teach children of different ages are often very similar and transferable. Sara has been fortunate enough to volunteer in the same area that she went to school in, sharing; ‘It’s nice to be near where I used to live and to be back in a different capacity, giving back to the area I grew up in.’
For Sara, the best part about being a volunteer tutor is seeing the difference she can make to a young person. She describes working with a pupil on probability, ‘I knew at the end of the session she could tackle questions that she couldn’t previously... every bit of volunteering with Action Tutoring is worthwhile.’ Sara tells how her pupils have become much more confident in their ability since the start of the programme and knowing that they are taking something away from the experience is invaluable.
Sara’s advice to those who might be thinking about becoming a volunteer tutor is to be brave. She explains that it’s about working it out together with the pupils, taking the time to form those relationships and gauging an understanding of what you both need out of the experience.
Through her experience, Sara has been able to learn about the true potential of young people; something she felt she knew but hadn’t experienced before, ‘When I see young people of a similar age to my pupils, I now know that their potential is fabulous!’ Sara also found that she was able to relate to young people a lot more than initially expected, insisting that there is no need to worry about age because in the end you will always make a connection with your pupils.
Sara is excited to be starting teacher training in September, focusing on primary schools but admits to almost being tempted by secondary schools, ‘I don’t think I would have ever thought that before volunteering with Action Tutoring, but there is an amazing energy you get in secondary schools.’ Sara shares how the key to successful tutoring is being flexible and inventive in your approach, ‘I understand that I don’t know all of the information but that’s okay, I just say let’s work through it together.’ The motivation shown by her pupils reinforces her enthusiasm, ‘They always make the effort to come on the Saturday, giving up their free time to study which is amazing!’
Volunteering is essential, as she explains, ‘More people should volunteer because the need is there, particularly for our pupils, making a difference between D/C grades in a subject is crucial for them and their futures.’ Sara continues, sharing how just this short time has certainly made a difference to the pupils she has tutored, ‘Others can also make that difference!’