Why I volunteer - Alliyah's story

Pete Kirby

February 23, 2015

Alliyah volunteers through the Tutorfair Foundation's “Tuition for all” programme, where tutors help students who are struggling at school and cannot afford private tuition. Here, Alliyah shares her uplifting story of overcoming her fear of tutoring to discover the rewards and fun that come with volunteering alongside the Tutorfair Foundation.

A star volunteer

I distinctly remember how terrified I was on my first day of tutoring. The expected anxiety of ‘what if the students hate me?’ was tirelessly running through my mind the whole day. But as I left the session that day I left with a smile on my face. They didn’t totally hate me! Success! I looked through their work like a proud mother, excitedly planning the next week's session in my mind.

That’s not to say tutoring was always easy, it had its rough moments. It also involved a LOT of effort and motivation, because if I wasn’t motivated my students wouldn’t be, and if I wasn’t prepared with resources and backup resources then my lessons were likely to spiral out of control.

Personally, I don’t want to be a teacher. I think it takes a special kind of patience and selflessness to teach high school students. But despite this, I’m proud of my Tutorfair experience. I conquered a huge fear; I took time out of my packed schedule and enjoyed planning/teaching. It was the rare moments when one of my students would look at me and say ‘miss, you make me want to learn’ or see that spark in their eye when they accomplished something they may have struggled with before. Little moments like that make the experience very rewarding.

Tutorfair also provides you with a lot of personal support, as well as training. We had a program manager who was with us every step of the way, emailing us with helpful resources or just general words of encouragement. For a first time tutor like myself it was an invaluable form of support! I would recommend tutoring with Tutorfair to anyone, not just those interested in teaching. The programme requires you to take responsibility for lesson planning, allowing you to study your students carefully, their ability and the little things they struggle with. In this situation you are the responsible adult, and your students expect you to provide them with support. That in itself is a maturing experience. So yes, tutoring can be scary, and tiring, and sometimes emotionally draining. But it can also be rewarding and fun and character building. I had never tutored before, but I’m glad I chose Tutorfair. I felt safe and supported during the new venture I was undertaking.

Alliyah R - Paddington Academy Volunteer - English