"I feel proud I've helped them with something that will be useful for the rest of their life."

When you see them understand and start to improve, they begin to see how it’s something that they might even enjoy and could consider studying at university in future.

Shruti Shalini, Masters in Mechanical Engineering, Year 2

Q: How did you get started on the WP Tutoring programme?

We got an email seeing if anyone was interested in getting work experience in teaching. It’s something that I’ve always been intrigued by because I’ve done work with children before and enjoyed it. It’s given me a chance to think about other career paths that might be open to me at the end of my degree.

Q: What bits of it did you enjoy most?

It’s the fact that I’m actually helping someone improve their study and grades and what they’re doing in school. I always had that issue when I was younger, if I wasn’t doing well in a particular subject I became disheartened and lost focus. To actually help and improve people who are not doing as well as some of their classmates is really rewarding. 

Q: How does a typical tutoring session run?

With the primary school sessions, we start by playing a few games to get them warmed up. I talk to them about what they’ve been covering in the past week. If it’s fairly basic – addition or multiplication – we’ll go through some puzzles and problems. Occasionally we’ll go through a past SATS exam paper with the Year 6s. Or we might do some work from secondary school to get them used to what to expect. It all helps them to get more confident in using maths.
I also tutor Y7 and Y8, plus one to one tuition with Year 11s at the City of London Academy, Islington. We tend to work with borderline D / C students, so the work we do can make a massive difference to those individuals. I like to teach them useful tricks and tips to help them along the way. If they get that C it makes them feel really proud and I feel proud knowing that I’ve helped them achieve something that will be really useful to them for the rest of their life.

Q: What was rewarding about the role?

Sometimes the students are sceptical that it will be useful to them in the future, so I have to work through examples and times where everyone needs to use maths – the practical applications of it, whatever they plan on doing. When you see them understand that and they start to improve, they begin to see how it’s something that they might even enjoy and might consider studying at University in future. That’s one of the things that’s really rewarding about being a tutor.

Q: How do you deal with challenging behaviour?

I’m pretty strict. They could easily take advantage of students who want to be liked by them. Occasionally you have to put your foot down and it sets the tone that we're there to work.

Q: How has this experience changed you?

It’s made me feel a lot happier about teaching fellow students. In Maths you can often feel a bit stumped about what to do next, so it’s reassuring to know that I can help people work through their difficulties and get to the solution. 
I enjoy teaching now – always thought that teaching looked like an interesting career – and having this experience with people in lots of different years has helped me see that it could be a viable option for me in the future. 
I have three more years to go, with a year in industry, so I’ll see how the next few years go but I’ll definitely be giving thought to teaching as a future career.

Q: So would you recommend the scheme to others?

Definitely, I’ve already told a few people on my course that they should definitely apply next year. I tell them that it’s a very good thing to have on your CV but also to do. It helps you become more mature as you’re responsible for teaching them something that will benefit them in life.

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