Mariella's Tutor Experience

Mariella's Tutor Experience

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.

Posted by David Walker on 14 September 2016

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.