Volunteer Tutor at Conisborough College shares his tips and experience

John is one of our dedicated volunteers and has been a volunteer tutor on three of our programmes at Conisborough College in Lewisham. He has spent the last nine years as a Teaching Assistant and previously worked in investment banking, so really enjoys the change that tutoring brings. Maths has always been a passion for John and he uses that passion in the school he works in as a Teaching Assistant, doing group activities with 7-11 year olds in Key Stage 2. John has previously tutored nieces and nephews in maths but came across Action Tutoring’s opportunities whilst looking for volunteering opportunities for a friend and thought ‘I’d love to try that!’ John loves that some of the pupils have completed all three of the programmes he has tutored on, sharing, ‘It’s nice to build that relationship and really get to know them.’


John feels that the most enjoyable part of tutoring with Action Tutoring is seeing the progress his pupils are able to make. He describes the rewarding feeling when his pupils say they had a mock exam and got the result they wanted, or that they understood something a bit more by the end of lesson; ‘It’s all about imparting knowledge’ he tells.


For John, the most daunting prospect about tutoring was not knowing what to expect when working with a much older age group than he was used to as he wasn’t sure if his knowledge of maths would be enough. His nerves soon subsided when he met the pupils he would be working with, ‘My pupils have been absolutely brilliant from day one; they are dedicated, motivated and polite.’ John confesses that he went from being nervous in the beginning to being incredibly impressed very quickly. His advice to any new volunteers is to read up on the curriculum, look at past papers and familiarise yourself with the exams board and examples, explaining, ‘It will make you more confident, but there is absolutely nothing to be nervous about.’


John’s tutoring session takes place early on a Saturday morning and he sometimes finds that the pupils seem tired but explains how one of them will make a few jokes to get the rest of the group energised – which always seems to work! John tells how he has learned a lot about himself, ‘I can work with teenagers. I wasn’t sure how I would cope but I quite like to do maths with an older group than I’m used to!’ He also shares what he learned about young people, ‘I’m so amazed and impressed by their dedication and their attitude to learning.’


As a volunteer John really looks forward to tutoring, ‘I always come out of it invigorated and feeling the buzz.’ John admits that he always comes out of the session with a smile on his face and that it’s the part of the week he really looks forward to. ‘If you are thinking about teaching it is a great way of getting experience and finding out if you’re up to it.’