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  • Writer's pictureShaiane at Jacari

Volunteer Q&A

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

Meet Oxford Brookes student Maya, one of our amazing volunteers.

Maya El Khoury - Jacari volunteer

How did you find out about Jacari?

My name is Maya Marina El Khoury and I am a second year student in Early Childhood Studies at Oxford Brookes University. I heard about Jacari from my University, as a proposition for a volunteering opportunity made by module leader, and I heard about it again during freshers' week this year and I decided to take the step of applying to volunteer.

What motivated you to volunteer with Jacari?

My motivation to volunteer with Jacari is the spirit of volunteering and to do something outside my course. It is a first step for students who do not study primary education, and it is an open opportunity for everyone who would like to experience and acknowledge better the role of teaching. Since I have already worked with children from birth to 4 years old, I decided in my second year to start working with children over this age and try Jacari tutoring with a pupil once per week only for an hour and during the whole semester. Alongside my placement for my course, it helps to balance my degree in theory and practice.

What has your experience of volunteering with Jacari been like so far?

In the level of communication, my experience of volunteering with Jacari has been very good. I was lucky to work and support a young pupil who is polite, knows well his curriculum at school, and with whom I have a good connection.

From my experience with Jacari, I learnt that teaching cannot just focus on the school’s curriculum, nor can it be done by just giving to a pupil an exercise which he/she is left to complete without the tutor interfering. Regarding preparing lessons, it is advisable a couple days before the next session to select the appropriate English language, and to plan how to explain this to one or two pupils.

Last point and I think it is the most important one of my learning, during the last sessions of term, I was requested to work with two pupils together (as other volunteers were away) and I was able to find a common interest, an activity among my material, or a game from the classroom, to make sure both pupils were interested and engaged until the last minute.

What support have you received from Jacari to help you tutor your pupil?

I had the Coordinator’s help and support for providing games for pupils with whom I had not worked with before the last sessions. From these last sessions, these pupils enlarged my perception of teaching and I came to the following assumptions that it is important to analyse their skills and personality regarding interests, but also face the challenge of supporting more than one pupil and prepare a lesson equally interesting for both.

What experience and skills are you learning as a Jacari volunteer which could be useful for your future plans?

Regarding my future plans, Jacari is providing me experience and preparation for a teaching qualification I am planning to complete after my undergraduate degree. This term was helpful and it was done at an easy to medium level. Of course, teaching is beyond that, but with Jacari, it is very useful to spend an hour per week meeting a young pupil at school alongside my placement and my modules focusing on children from 0 to 5 years old.

In terms of experience and skills, I can support the child so he/she enjoys this additional hour after school; find the appropriate exercises according to the pupil’s age; relate the lessons to the country’s culture; spend time with the pupil rather than leaving them on their own doing the exercise.

Why would you recommend volunteering with Jacari to other people? 

I would definitely recommend volunteering with Jacari for any student, doing or not doing the course of Primary Teaching, because of the possibility to gain experience in helping children, teaching them, and spend an hour with a pupil for at least a semester or even a year. It is another opportunity for every student to complement their course, maybe to mention in their dissertation as part of their experiences and also, eventually, to add on their curriculum vitae for jobs in the future.

If Maya's Q&A inspires you to volunteer, you can apply online. Applications are open until 21st January. University students and non-students are welcome to apply - you just need to be based in Bristol or Oxford.

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