Southside Young Leaders’ Academy - Why Volunteers Make Better Tutors

Rachael C

May 08, 2017

Some Tutorfair Foundation volunteers sign up in order to improve their skills as a tutor. Writer and independent educator, Christie shares what he gained through volunteering at Southside Young Leaders’ Academy.

Starting off at Southside Young Leaders’ Academy

Christie tells us “I decided to volunteer with Tutorfair to develop my expertise as a Tutor and to do so in the spirit of service.” In a word, his first day was “Welcoming.” He attributes the positive experience to the fact that, “we were given excellent training as a group. That prepared us well for working with children as a team and managing behaviour. My first day volunteering was positive, everything was prepared for us.”

The Tutorfair Foundation training day and ongoing support were invaluable in getting Christie ready for the classroom. He says it also helps that “you're given support the whole way through. There will be times where you will be uncomfortable and need to sit tight or just dive in. Listen to the processes, watch other tutors at work, and it will all come together when the critical moments come.”

Christie Southside Young Leaders' Academy

We asked Christie to tell us about his favourite day, he replies, “I couldn't pick one out. Every day is different and every day is the same.” As with many of our tutors, Christie found that being adaptable is important, “usually the hard days are when the students are struggling, because then you have to get creative if you want to survive. That process of building rapport and understanding; that drives true progress.”

Lessons from Southside Young Leaders’ Academy

Volunteering has shown Christie that it isn’t just academics that matter, “emotional maturity as well as academic success [are essential]. Building the rapport and understanding to help a student achieve that, is one of the best feelings of personal satisfaction I've come across.”

Weeks on Christie finds he is a better tutor and finds the sessions to be, “a learning process. Always equal parts fun, challenging and humbling.” He has already given 10 hours of tutoring at Southside Young Leaders’ Academy but says, “I don't think I'm done there. I've enjoyed working with the people there far too much.”

Southside Young Leaders' Academy boys

The greatest challenge for Christie has been consistently “engaging with a student." he tells us, "it needs to be a dialogue. Children, and people in general, don't care what you know, until they know that you care.” He has also learnt that context is king, “conveying the 'why' of any given task, and explaining a topic or situation in a way that is relevant” are essential skills he has developed.

Development through tutoring

Though the process that been fun, Christie has learnt that as an educator, “you also have to be firm in your boundaries, and that's also a challenge, as each child is different. That's why tutoring is so rewarding, you're constantly learning and developing.”

Despite the challenges involved in volunteering, Christie tells us he “wouldn't change a moment of it.” He felt it a “foundational experience.”

If you are thinking of joining our volunteer team Christie’s advice is simply “do it!” In his view, “contribution is fundamental to happiness and a meaningful life. Professionally and personally, we're all here to serve a role and add value. Volunteering gives you experience. Confidence. And for me, it was a new perspective on my own privileges and education. A strong sense of gratitude came with it. Volunteering also gives me confidence and hope in the future. I know I've made an impact, and see many others doing the same.”

You can view Christie's profile here.