At a recent training event we met Rose, a recent physics graduate who’d been tutoring under her own steam for years. We were so impressed with her passion – particularly her desire to open the door for young women in STEM. No time was wasted in finding her a school placement and right off the bat she started with 6 hours per week volunteering in the maths department.
We reached out to find out a bit more about Rose and how she’s been getting on…
Tell us a bit about you – how did you get to where you are now?
I grew up in South London and went to school in Tooting, where I did Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry at A-level. I went on to study for a bachelor’s degree in physics at Oxford University and graduated in July 2019 with a first. Now I’m back home and taking a few months off after finishing university, working in catering and teaching myself to code.
How did you hear about the Foundation? How did you first get involved?
I have been a tutor in maths and science since I was 15, and I have always found it enjoyable and rewarding. On leaving university, I wanted to find a volunteering opportunity and after some research I discovered Tutorfair Foundation online and signed up!
What are you doing with the Foundation this year?
Since the start of November I have been volunteering on Mondays at a school in Bethnal Green. I spend the first two hours of the day supporting a Year 12 Maths lesson, and the next two supporting a Year 13 Maths lesson. After lunch, I run a two-hour intervention session with 3-5 students, where we go over topics they are struggling with.
What’s your favourite thing about volunteering with young people?
I really enjoy seeing the effect that a little extra help can achieve. It can be very hard to keep up in A-level maths, especially if the student isn’t very confident in their ability, but with a tutor there to fill the gaps, the student can really improve.
What do you think is the biggest challenge working with young people?
Specifically in maths, I have found that the biggest challenge is giving students the confidence to apply their knowledge from lessons and exercises to tests and exams. I try to keep this in mind when tutoring and get them to do lots of exam and harder questions.
Has volunteering made you a better tutor?
I definitely feel like a better tutor. Supporting lessons has given me an appreciation for the planning and structure of class teaching, and it’s interesting to see what approaches work best, and what students respond to.
What’s your number one top tip for tutoring?
Listen to the student and let them do most of the work! If you plough ahead without them fully understanding the basics, then it will be really hard for them to make progress and gain confidence.