At AWL, like all small charities we rely on dedicated volunteers to help us to deliver more for the vulnerable groups that we work with. We are grateful for all those who have worked with us over the years and helped with everything from day to day operations and fundraising to marketing and website support. They all make a huge difference to our work and their time is very valuable to us. During COVID we have been lucky to have had access to local teacher Rachel Caterer; Rachel supported us on one of our ESOL programmes – here she talks to us about her volunteering experience.
Like many others during lockdown I found myself with time on my hands and a desire to do something positive with it. I applied to Action West London to volunteer with those that have English as a second or other language and they took me up on my offer of tutoring. I meet up to four children at a time via video conferencing for an hour-long session, a minimum of twice a week.
These students are predominantly Year 1 who I look to deliver a fun and informative class based on their curriculum. Focussing mainly on Mathematics and English but also including sessions around Science and Geography. Using a combination of realia, boards, books and acting skills each session is different and often develops in response to the need of the group rather than to my lesson plan!
From the outset a set of classroom rules were set to ensure all of the children got a chance to be heard and make their contribution.
The group was currently learning via worksheets from their schools, so I made a conscious decision to make my sessions, with such a young age group, as inclusive as possible. I felt interaction with a teacher to be of paramount importance. Students are encouraged to huff and puff along to the story of the Three Little Pigs and to discuss which materials are the best for building houses. They also get to decide how they will spend their money in our fictious sweetshop! The most fun they seem to have had to date is saving me from the sharks in our game of guessing the letters to make the compound word.
Teaching online has been incredibly rewarding and I look forward to each session because as a volunteer teacher in these interesting times who knows what we will end up discussing in our next session! The feedback from the group, children and parents, has been very humbling and included drawings and thank you notes from the students.
If you would like to volunteer with us please contact our teams to find out what positions are available and we are always open to ideas. You can also view our current volunteer requirements HERE