Volunteering at a Local Primary School
SustainIt offers each employee the chance to volunteer for a charity of their choosing for two days, every year. I decided to volunteer with action tutoring in Bristol, who support disadvantaged pupils in local primary and secondary schools, by offering tutoring sessions for Maths and English. Every tutor works with the same group of two or three pupils, for one hour a week over the period of one term (8-10 weeks), with the option of continuing the following term.
Having previously studied English and Maths to become a teacher, this volunteering opportunity seemed like a perfect fit. The main reason behind me volunteering with action tutoring was that I wanted to commit to an entire term as I really think that it is important to only start something that you can dedicate enough time to. I also particularly like the fact that you work in a room full of other volunteers, working with pupils of the same age group. We get the chance to help each other and share ideas during the sessions, or in our 10-minute catch-up after each volunteering session.
During each session, we try to concentrate on a specific topic, including time for both group and individual work. During the small breaks between longer tasks, we play mathematical games or try the brain teasers in the workbook. Figure 2 shows an example of some of the activities we ask the children to complete. Can you solve the triangle mess and count the triangles?
It is great to see the students enjoying the sessions when we get to a topic they find engaging. Sometimes, they almost forget that they are doing Maths.
It has been important to get to know my pupils a little bit during the first session and observe what they enjoy in the following session. It is a great chance to plan the lessons with a mix of tasks they need more practice on, as well as those they enjoy and leave them with a sense of achievement.
The current term will end in January and I’m looking forward to the remaining sessions until then. I do not know whether I can commit to another term straight away, but I will keep an eye on the openings in the future and will be tempted to try some English tutoring next time.
Tell us about your volunteering experience!
By: Stefanie Bongert, Systems Consultant