“I have loved the opportunity to meet so many new people, including mentors, staff, and pupils. I believe the programme has improved my own self-confidence, as I am now comfortable with leading and adapting Team Up lessons and answering pupil’s questions.”
I am a Journalism student at Goldsmiths, University of London. Originally from Bath, I am an avid traveller and have previously lived in Australia for 3 years. I always had a passion for writing/helping others and set up a writing club for younger year groups when I was in Sixth Form. After 4 years of retail management experience and 3 years living abroad/travelling, I was ready to return to study and combine my experience with my love of writing and all things creative.
Team Up was a highly recommended organisation by friends and colleagues who had previous mentoring experience. As a mature student, I have personally experienced how daunting the world of education can appear and this is what drew me to tutoring. I wanted the chance to provide reassurance and confidence to other students, knowing how much I personally have gained from academic support during the transition from professional work to study.
I currently mentor two year nine students, who are both looking to improve their writing structure and punctuation. The pupils are both very determined and have solid ideas about what they want to achieve in the future. Our sessions were nerve-wracking to start with, as it was my first official mentoring role, and the students were lacking self-belief with their own work.
As we got more comfortable and learned more about one another, it became clear that the pupils have more than enough potential to earn a high pass grade in English GCSE, their self-confidence is just sometimes lacking. This was interesting to note, as it made me aware that I can be equally self-critical when it comes to my university studies. From encouraging the students to gain inspiration from writing about things that they personally find interesting; I was able to see a vast improvement in their planning and writing skills.
I have enjoyed getting to know the pupils and seeing their confidence improve over the weeks as they gain more feedback. I strongly believe that self-belief and determination are the primary focus, and the improvement will naturally follow. The pupils are a lot more enthusiastic with their creative ideas now and happier to share them with myself and each other. A particular highlight was seeing how much they remembered from previous sessions when we had had a two-week break. It meant a lot to know the content had helped them and stayed relevant in their minds.
The help from my programme manager has been really appreciated during my first mentoring placement with Team Up. She is always approachable and happy to help with any queries, which is reassuring when you’re new and feel like you have endless questions! I really value the opinion and support of the other tutors in my team too, a few of them have previous mentoring experience and have provided me with solutions to problems and ideas to try within sessions.
I have loved the opportunity to meet so many new people, including tutors, staff, and pupils. I believe the programme has improved my own self-confidence, as I am now comfortable with leading and adapting Team Up lessons and answering pupil’s questions. Working with the students has been a great chance to assess the many different learner types and confirms that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
I would recommend the Team Up programme to other volunteers wherever possible, as the organisation promotes a friendly, flexible, and focused approach to the mentoring and development of others. I believe teaching should not always carry with it a high-pressure, grades-focused approach, but instead one that prioritises the student and their confidence. My experience with Team Up so far has shown that they highly regard the well-being of both tutors and tutees and want to make learning a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
On behalf of the Team Up team and pupils, we say: Thank you Imogen!