What are you most looking forward to about being a volunteer tutor?
I am looking forward to working with young people who are discovering chemistry. It reminds me of why I fell in love with chemistry in the first place. I hope they will also fall in love with it. Or, if they do not fall in love, at least they do not perceive it as scary or difficult!
What was your favourite thing about the training session?
It was very interactive, plenty of opportunity to ask questions. It really helped me to see how my role as tutor fits with the bigger picture, with the work with the young person and the school they are based on. We even did a bit of role playing, designing a tutorial plan and testing our plan with another attendee.
Did you have any particular questions or concerns going into the session? What were these? Did the session successfully address your questions/concerns?
I signed up almost as soon as I received the email from the RSC with the information about the project. By the time the training session arrived, I confess I was having some second thoughts. As much as I loved the project, I was concerned about the time commitment. Also, the responsibility of working with a young person, helping them develop academically, was a bit scary. The questions "do I have enough time?" and "will I be able to do a good job?" were weighing heavily in my mind when I joined the session.
The training really helped put my mind at ease. I found it very reassuring that the students enrolled in the programme have a University Access Officer, who provides mentoring support. Although to a certain extent we act as role models, our purpose is to help young people with chemistry – the guidance for university applications, etc. comes from the UAOs, who work at the student’s school.
It was very reassuring to see how closely the project works with the teachers at the partner schools – we will even receive an email from the young person’s teacher, with a suggestions of topics to cover. Also, it was also very useful to hear the wealth of resources available to prepare tutorials – several were discussed during the session, including the RSC educational resources.
It was very clear that there was no need to reinvent the wheel, there is plenty of material to draw from. For each weekly tutorial (1 hour) we were asked to do 30 min of preparation. The whole session really helped me to put in perspective the level of commitment expected from us – it definitely made it more "doable".