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  • Writer's pictureNatasha at Jacari

Volunteering with Jacari during Covid-19

By Eleanor Grandchamp - Jacari Bristol volunteer tutor

Getting involved:

Hi everyone, my name is Eleanor. I am a second year English language and linguistics student at UWE Bristol. I have been volunteer tutoring since I was 16 on the Isle of Wight. Moving to Bristol for university at 18 meant moving far away from all my friends and family.

I joined lots of tutoring groups via the UWE Careers website, searching for 'English tutors', in a bid to carry on my tutoring passion and gain more experience tutoring children with a variety of ages. From there, I found Jacari. I signed up, attended training sessions, and was paired with my current student - and the rest is history!

Jacari is very different from the other organisations I tutor for, in the way that you normally go to the pupil's house to tutor them, or online, rather than in a school setting. This meant for me that I could explore and get to know different areas of Bristol - since there are so many culturally diverse communities here. It is a great way to educate yourself about your local community and its values - particularly towards the education sector.

What volunteering has been like during the pandemic:

I have been volunteering with Jacari since November 2020 - when lockdown 2.0 started in the UK - so it has always been online. Me and my pupil meet once a week virtually to have a lesson. Because of this, it has been really easy to be consistent in delivering lessons - no more accidentally missing the bus or being late for a tutoring session!

In the beginning, I was quite nervous about tutoring virtually - it was my first time doing it this way, having been used to using paper workbooks and physical whiteboards. Tutoring virtually has really stretched my abilities in such a positive way, making me more adaptable to sudden changes such as documents not loading, the call suddenly ending or log-in problems.

I now feel very confident about tutoring online if I were to pursue it as a career in the future. A positive benefit of tutoring virtually means you can share your screen in live time - no more fumbling in person - and use multi-modal techniques such as songs, videos, films, and PDFs. I also make use of online gaming websites so we can play games like Hangman and Wordsearch together! In a way, it's more personal than real life.

The impact of tutoring with Jacari:

Virtual tutoring has definitely made me more confident in organising meetings, sticking to a schedule, and reaching out to others. It helps you learn how to professionally contact people (as you organise sessions with the student's parents) and be proactive in using a platform to deliver your tutoring sessions.

Because of my experience with Jacari, I am researching a teaching career when I graduate, and have attended Teach First's work experience week to gain more knowledge about how to become qualified as a teacher. I would not have been able to do this without Jacari's help. Jacari releases weekly newsletters with such great information about opportunities like this, and ways to deliver more imaginative and creative teaching sessions - it has been such as a great experience so far and I'm looking forward to continuing tutoring with Jacari in the future!

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