After volunteering with The Access Project as a tutor online for the last year, Claudia has shared her experience of supporting a young person from a disadvantaged background during the pandemic. This is her tutoring story…
I began tutoring with The Access Project in November 2020 and have just seen my tutee through her Year 13 A-Level exams. I have tutored in the past as a part time job but hadn’t really considered it as an option alongside full time work. Then COVID hit and I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands. When the Access Project was mentioned in a staff meeting I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in and I haven’t looked back since. The flexibility of online tutorials has meant that even post-COVID I would love to continue tutoring as it has been such a rewarding experience.
I had my first tutoring session just as the second lockdown was looming and had seen how the first lockdown had really widened educational inequalities. From seeing my neighbours much more and talking with friends that are teachers it was clear how severe the impact of COVID has been on children’s education. While many fortunate parents are able to pay for additional tutoring or help this is not a luxury available to all. At the start of the pandemic many families didn’t have the spare laptops and tablets required for the new world of online teaching. COVID is by no means a great leveller and will only have further widened inequalities for children and their education. I have really enjoyed volunteering at an organisation that is aiming to tackle this inequality.
I have found the past 7 months of tutoring incredibly rewarding. It has been great to see the progress my tutee made, going from struggling with a topic to teaching me things I didn’t know. It was also really interesting to refresh my memory on things I had learned in the past. Since finishing my degree I have had less time to think about biology and the things I enjoyed about it. Plus it was comforting to know that not everything I learned slipped completely out of my head following exams.
Beyond hourly tutoring sessions I felt privileged to be asked by my tutee to look at her personal statement and was incredibly proud when she received offers from all of her prospective universities. Outside of my usual volunteering commitment with TAP, I have also been involved in support into Oxbridge admissions and provided a taster session for Biology. It’s great to provide students with an idea of what studying at university could be like and also give an opportunity for students to ask any questions they may have.
I couldn’t recommend volunteering with the Access Project enough. Beyond helping me while away the evenings in lockdown it has been incredibly rewarding and given me an excuse to dive back into a subject I love.