Practice Makes Perfect - Liu’s Story

May 24, 2021 by Tas F
Image From undergraduate students to retired teachers – everyone has the opportunity to learn new things through tutoring. Disruption over the past 18 months means there's more opportunity than ever to step outside of your comfort zone and try a new approach. Experienced tutor, Liu Z, tells us what he's learned through his experience with Tutorfair Foundation's online volunteering programme this year.

How did you come to volunteer with the Foundation?

Following my maths degree, I have amassed almost 10 years of experience as a tutor. I have become proficient both in understanding learners' needs and sharing knowledge effectively. Like with other industries, the pandemic in 2020 hugely affected the tutoring market, and the cancellation of the exams certainly damped demand for lessons!

As a result, I had some free time and decided to volunteer with the Tutorfair Foundation to offer free lessons to disadvantaged students. As a private tutor, you work with lots of rich and middle-class families. Offering lessons to those who are less able to afford it feels like a valuable way to give something back to society.

How have you found tutoring online?

During the pandemic, all lessons took place online.  This was a bonus because it enabled me to tutor from the comfort of my own home. In other circumstances, the time and cost of a commute might prevent people from volunteering.

Though I missed a face-to-face interaction, I was still able to see the students' writing in real time which helps a lot. As a tutor,  you can still clearly understand their thinking process and the method they're using.  As such, I was able to offer and corrections early on.

What do you make of the technological side of things?

Unfortunately, online lessons can diminish interactivity because not all students have a touch-screen device or a writing pad. Keeping students engaged during lessons can be challenging. I've learnt to navigate that by letting the students lead on the problem solving. They discuss approaches and methods used to solve problems whilst I use questions skills along the way to check their understanding.

Even as a more experienced tutor, I have learned a lot about delivering online lessons through my volunteering placements. But there are definitely opportunities to improve the virtual classroom platforms.

Would you recommend the programme to other tutors?

Tutorfair Foundation's volunteering programme offers valuable experience to both new and experienced tutors. Whether you're finding new ways to explain a concept or improving on your existing processes, always remember: "practice makes perfect."

The Foundation's aim is to offer free lessons to disadvantaged students – I see no reason why people who have some time to spare shouldn't join in with the mission. So check it out and become part of the volunteering community!

Join our remote volunteering at work today!

If you would like to find out more about remote volunteering opportunities with us, fill in this short form here.

How can we help your organisation?

If you are looking to support your students, then fill in this form here and one of our team members will get in touch.


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