How volunteering helped Gillian decide on teaching

Rachael C

March 03, 2017

Volunteering for the Tutorfair Foundation is a hugely rewarding experience, yet it can be daunting at first. Architecture student and aspiring teacher Gillian tells us why it's well worth the challenging start.

Gillian started in October and has learnt a great deal about herself through volunteering. She tells us, “supporting the development of others and being part of a close-knit community are really important to me. I am now thinking about training to become a teacher.”

Volunteer placements can take on many different forms depending on what suits the volunteer and the school. For Gillian volunteering means working as an in-class maths tutor at Central Foundation Girls School.

What volunteering looks like
For the last three months Gillian has volunteered for several hours a week “with students who are preparing to retake GCSE maths with the aim of achieving a ‘C’ grade." She "also ran a maths revision session on my own at half term.”

To begin with Gillian had never volunteered before. She started “by joining the class so I could get to know the students and what they are working on.”

As for many of our volunteers, the first session was intimidating. She says, “walking into the classroom for the first time was initially a little daunting, but everyone was very friendly and the students were very polite and respectful. I soon found myself able to contribute. I have been asked to carry on helping in this way and to possibly do some one-to-one tutoring later on in the year.” For Gillian volunteering, “was something I was really keen and interested to get involved in. As soon as I started I felt my confidence increase.”

Gillian S Volunteering

The benefits of volunteering
Months on the benefits are even more obvious. Gillian says, “I really enjoy the lessons I attend and the challenge of trying to find a way of explaining things that works for each student. The students in the two classes that I work with [...] recently received their results from the retake exam that they took in October. It was great to see some achieve the grade they need and to encourage the others that, with continued effort, can get there too.”

As well as helping students achieve the results they desperately need, Gillian has found the ‘aha’ moments” incredibly rewarding. She has enjoyed helping students, “with something they are stuck on. Watch[ing] them go from being certain they can’t do it to confidently explaining it to the student sitting next to them.” 

Career confirmation through volunteering
As well as being a lifeline for the pupils she works with, Gillian’s placement has offered personal benefits. She says, “I started volunteering because I wanted to confirm my interest in teaching." As with many of our volunteers the placement clarified that interest. She says it helped "to confirm maths is the subject I would want to teach."

Volunteering also helped Gillian "to learn about teaching different ages.” She tells us, “the experiences I have had tutoring have helped me decide I definitely do want to train to become a teacher. They have provided me with a clearer understanding of what is involved. Volunteering allowed me to observe some great teachers. It's given me practical experience to discuss when I apply for teacher training.”

If you're reading this and interested in volunteering with the Tutorfair Foundation? Get involved! The Tutorfair Foundation is the way we keep our promise: for every student who pays, we give free tutoring to a child who can't. Gillian says: “joining the Tutorfair volunteer team is very rewarding. It's a great opportunity to get involved in the community doing something that can really make a difference to others' lives.”