This is my third-year volunteering for the Access Project. Over that I time I have taught both A level and GSCE Physics, with a bit of Maths thrown in for good measure.
I have gained many things out of the experience but the thing that possibly surprised me the most was reconnecting with Physics; a subject which I studied at university but did not then touch for over 10 years. Having to reacquaint myself with topics that I had not considered for so long got me interested in them again and over the three years I have found myself seeking out more and more about the subject. I even found myself buying books published by my former tutors – something I never did during my degree.
Having never taught before I initially found planning for the tutorials a bit daunting but the support and the materials that the Access Project provided were invaluable and after the first few tutorials. The tutorials went from something I was initially wary of to one of the most rewarding hours of the week. They tutorials do require some pre planning but the amount of work required is not too great and I can easily fit it around my work commitments (although one week doing A level Maths I did find myself found myself doing homework for the first time since school).
One of the best things about the Access Project is being able to see your tutee progress. As the term goes on you get to see both their understanding of the subject improve and their confidence in tackling complex problems develop. It’s great to think that, even if just slightly, you have helped in that progression and really makes it worthwhile.
From a personal perspective, it has also given me the opportunity to develop my teaching skills. Each week sitting down with my tutee systematically breaking down questions to identify the underlying concepts and how they should be applied has really helped to think about the best way to explain ideas and to consider the audience when doing so. I have been able to take this into my job to convey what can be complicated issues more concisely and clearly to a wide range of audiences.
The whole experience has been very rewarding, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who was considering it.