Mariella de Soissons is a student at UCL. She joined us in 2015, tutoring English. She was recognised as one of our star tutors, winning a Team Up award for her diligence and commitment. She will now be joining the UCL student society committee, and here writes about her first Team Up experience.
I have just finished my first year at UCL as a BA Geography Undergraduate student. I first joined Team Up in November 2015 and tutored Key Stage 3 English Language to two boys: Patrick and Wilson. This group regularly expanded to four.
From the onset, I was faced with the challenge of engaging two teenagers who'd never read a piece of literature outside their GCSE set texts ("But Miss, what's the point in reading when I can watch the film of the book?") and who thought that onomatopoeia was a foreign dialect. Gradually, with patience, creativity (and a lot of edible prizes!), I was given the privilege of witnessing my students meet new challenges with increasing enthusiasm and determination and develop not only in linguistic competence, but also in their attitude. It was a joy to see the boys begin to view academic success as something aspirational, rather than "uncool" and "nerdy".
This shift in attitude can provide the inspiration for a student to attend evening sessions; ask questions during class and probe every angle of a confusing concept to achieve their academic goals. I think Team Up have been exemplary in ensuring their tutors have the full support needed to offer their tutees such inspiration. As of yet, I have not met a single member of the Team Up community who hasn't been infectiously enthusiastic or willing to guide me in any areas I might be unsure about, particularly my Programme Manager, Jonny.
Having the opportunity to tutor students is very much a case of mutual learning. My students asked me questions that I would never have considered, and really challenged me to try to explain concepts in a way which was relatable to them. Never had I thought that I would use lyrics to Queen or a "cheeky Nando's" as examples for metaphors. Teaching enhanced my sense of empathy, communication, leadership and a plethora of other skills which are easily translatable into other careers or areas of life.
Most importantly, however, I have felt proud to work for Team Up, in the knowledge that I am helping, in whatever small way I can, to give students the impetus and opportunity to excel academically, which they might not otherwise have had.