Volunteer Tutor to Teach First Trainee - Sarinah's Story

June 22, 2022 by Tas F
"Volunteering with Tutorfair confirmed for me that I wanted to pursue a career in teaching. An hour of volunteering a week will now become a lifelong teaching career."

Tutors' motivations for volunteering with us vary greatly. This year, we've had high-flying professionals, academics, current or former teachers, undergraduates and retirees! As long as you share our passion for tutoring and for supporting young people, you're very welcome.

However, perhaps the most exciting volunteers are those looking to turn their love of tutoring into a career in teaching. Volunteering with young people (and tutoring in particular) can be a great way to gain experience and sound out an ambition to become a teacher.

We are enormously proud to think of the dozens of teachers up and down the country who used our programmes as a crucial stepping stone. And we're delighted to celebrate the latest member of that cohort! Sarinah is a fantastic tutor who has been supporting our English, Maths and MFL programmes for several years. This week, we learned that she has been accepted onto a competitive Teacher Training Internship with Teach First. Her story is a fantastic one, and we're thrilled to be able to share it with you!

So, without further ado: congratulations, Sarinah! Take it away...

What is your story in education so far?

From a young age, I remember genuinely enjoying school for the opportunities it gave me to learn and to grow. I achieved top grades throughout my GCSEs and A Levels, and in the process, developed a love for the French language and English literature. I considered becoming a teacher, but I was only in college at the time and had no experience teaching a class of thirty children! In September of 2020, I began my undergraduate studies combining my passions of English and French.

How did you get into tutoring?

At college, I was the student that my peers went to for exam revision and study support. I was more than happy to help. I gained some experience tutoring in different settings, I dedicated my time to tutoring family members, and I quickly realised that teaching felt natural to me and could become a potential career option.

What made you want to volunteer?

The pandemic struck during my final year of college, and this discouraged me from pursuing tutoring as my attention turned to the safety of my family. The multiple lockdowns continued into my first year of university and I felt completely unable to gain any teaching or tutoring experience. Thankfully, the health crisis taught us how to connect with each other in alternative ways, and online learning seemed a plausible way to reconnect with my love for tutoring.

The Tutorfair Foundation offered the unique opportunity to spend an hour weekly with a student from a disadvantaged background. Coming from a low-income household myself, I know just how unaffordable, yet crucial, tutoring can be. I applied, and after a quick process and much support from the Tutorfair Foundation Team, I went on to tutor French, Maths and English to a range of brilliant, deserving children.

What’s been the best thing about your experience? 

Most definitely, my students. Each piece of work or task completed by my students, and every ‘hi Miss!’ or ‘bye Miss!’, reminded me of the impact tutoring can have on a student’s life. Oftentimes, I reflect on how much progress my students have made. And on the relationships we are able to build in such short spaces of time. I always looked forward to my tutoring sessions which felt like a refreshing break from my own studies and helped me put my life into perspective.

Volunteering with Tutorfair confirmed for me that I wanted to pursue a career in teaching. During my time with the Tutorfair Foundation, I was able to secure a competitive teacher training internship with Teach First. I will soon begin a career working with the most disadvantaged children in a low-income London school. An hour of volunteering a week will now become a lifelong teaching career. We are always working towards something bigger than ourselves.

What have you found challenging?

I think we can all agree that technical hitches are not the most fun aspect of tutoring online! There have times when my students’ connection or my own have been less than reliable. However, with a little troubleshooting, and a great deal of teamwork, lessons on the Bramble platform have been great. In the end, my students, and my own teaching skillset, have greatly benefitted from the online-adapted learning, and I love the digital pen as much as my physical whiteboard pens!

Would you recommend the experience, and do you have any advice for other tutors?

Without a doubt! I would encourage everyone to set aside an hour of their week to make a lifetime’s difference to a disadvantaged student. I would also encourage you to know that there is no perfect tutor. The Tutorfair Foundation Team are there to support you, and most of all, the experience itself is invaluable. Tutoring with Tutorfair not only give us volunteers the chance to help our pupils meet their academic potential, but it may also be that step you need to embark on a career in teaching like myself!

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