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Sebastian Rudden is a first-year undergrad studying Biochemical Engineering. He has been volunteering as a tutor with Action Tutoring and was more than happy to share his experiences of volunteering. Read on to find out more!

Tell us a little about your volunteering.
 
I volunteered with Action Tutoring - they’re a charity that aims to provide much-needed individual attention to economically disadvantaged students that are predicted to underperform in their next major examination (SATs or GCSE). As a volunteer tutor, I spent one hour per week with these students helping them with their maths work. 
 
How did you find out about the role?
 
I first heard about the role when I attended the Volunteering Fairs at the beginning of this academic year.
 
Why did you want to become a volunteer?
 
It is emotionally rewarding - I love teaching, so I specifically wanted to do that, and I think giving is good as a matter of principle - ‘to whom much has been given, much is required’. I think tutoring also looks great for your CV!
 
What difference do you feel you’ve made by volunteering?
 
I taught maths to my students. Many people may construct mental blocks to math, and think that they are not good enough to do well in it. Through constant encouragement and very practical teaching (like using coins to teach fractions) my students were inspired to see math as something that a) they can do and b) that is fun! 
 
Another aspect is supporting students to overcome habits that may cause them to compare themselves to others - even adults struggle with this! Tackling this from a young age can really help students and it is a massive skill that goes far beyond just learning math better.
 
What impact has volunteering had on you?
 
The impact has been all positive. It feels very rewarding, it enhances your skills, allows you to meet new people, see new places and contribute to something important to you. So far, my teaching skills have definitely been improved - it’s harder than it looks! Also, as I mentioned, tutoring is rewarding and this can help after you’ve had a stressful day at school.
 
What’s the best thing about volunteering?
 
In my case of teaching, the best thing would be that moment when you ‘see’ the concept click in the mind of your pupils, and you know your work was not in vain. It is truly a wonderful feeling.
 
And the most challenging? How did you overcome the challenges?
 
Nothing was really very challenging, or at least taxing. I suppose being in transit for 45 minutes there and then 45 minutes back can be taxing, but I adapted by using my time on the tube to read books - the books were so good I had to be careful I didn’t miss my stop! 
 
Tell us about something memorable that’s happened to you whilst volunteering.
 
The most memorable moment would be when I had to tell my first group of tutees that I would be leaving them. I remember trying to explain that a new tutor would replace me and the pupil simply responded, “I don’t want a new tutor,” in a quiet voice. That was possibly my saddest moment, and I doubt I shall ever forget it. Yet it was not all sad because I know I had encouraged and inspired the student. To me, that is the bittersweet burden all teachers must carry… you plant seeds in a child but you may never see the harvest. However, once you have planted well, you can rest assured that your work was not in vain.
 
Would you recommend volunteering? If so, why?
 
Most definitely. I think if you’ve read all my previous answers, you cannot be asking why here. All I will say is, in the words of Nike, “Just do it.” You can thank me later.

If you want to do something that you’ll find rewarding, browse our volunteering directory to see what you can do, regardless of where you are!