Online Volunteer Tutoring – Josephine’s Story

June 24, 2020 by Tas F
Image The Tutorfair Foundation prides itself on the fantastic tutors and volunteers who commit their time and efforts to helping students who feel left behind in their studies. We reached out to Josephine who spoke a bit more about her experience tutoring through the Tutorfair Foundation.

Tell us a little bit about you

I’ve always loved volunteering from as early as college. I first began volunteering with London Youth as a Peer Facilitator, organising workshops for young people to create a safe space to discuss the 7/7 bombings that had occurred 2 years prior. Following that, I’ve worked with young people with complex needs as a Casual Playworker, which taught me the very small part verbal communication plays in communication. In that role I learnt basic sign language and developed a deep sense of the social inequalities those with impairments and from low income households face. Tutoring has come to me as somewhat of an adopted child, as I’ve always helped family and children of family friends with work, so being able to broaden my reach and do this more during lockdown has been fantastic for me. I work as a Pensions Actuary, so for lockdown, I’ve been lucky enough to work from home, about 1 meter away from my fridge and snack cupboard! Which has been disastrous for my diet but so convenient for my snacking urges. 

How have you found teaching online?

Prior to lockdown, I was tutoring GCSE Maths and Business level Excel online using Skype, so teaching online has been fine for me. Online tuition can initially be tedious regarding connection issues, but once you’re over that, it gives massive flexibility when choosing and using resources. The main downside is not being able to see your student’s work and missing out on the tutor/student connection that can be difficult to replicate via webcam, as this connection/rapport is usually key in keeping the student motivated and engaged. Overall, I’ve enjoyed tutoring online, to make it easier, I’ve invested in a stylus to use on my tablet which is really handy for writing equations.

Connection issues have been tough, especially since everyone else is working from home, and there’s just a greater demand on the internet than usual. On the platform that Tutorfair Foundation use, the student is also able to write on the screen, which is great, as it solves the issue of not being able to see the student’s work. Occasionally there has been sound issues as the technology can pick up background noise better than is useful, so to optimise the tech, it’s key to be in a room that’s as quiet as possible. 

 Would you recommend the programme to other tutors?

I would definitely recommend the programme to other tutors for two reasons. The first being to improve their tuition skills and ability, and the second to contribute to making the world that bit brighter for someone else. Free tuition can be a massive leveller for a student to help them achieve their potential in cases where they may not readily have access to it for various reasons. Making it available, you can help in your very small but significant way to reduce the vast inequalities that exist in the education system.
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