Monday, 25 March 2013

Schools Volunteering

My name is Kripali Patel and I have just finished my Masters degree in Psychology at Kingston University. I aim to become an Educational Psychologist, but I knew that I must gain lots of experiences of working and interacting with children before I go into further studying.  Therefore, I decided to start gaining experience through Kingston University Students' Union's (KUSU) Schools Volunteering programme.

I was very pleased with the many options I could choose from in regards to the roles at the schools, and I decided to become a 1:1 learning mentor to two young boys at Tolworth Junior School. I went into the school every Thursday for three hours, and my role was to guide them with their learning, help them gain confidence, and listen to any problems or concerns they were feeling. I really enjoyed my time at Tolworth as the teachers were very helpful and the children were just as kind. One of teachers in the class that I worked in was extremely supportive; she explained the task that the children were going to engage in before I worked with the children. This allowed me to plan and understand the requirements of the task beforehand. My best day at Tolworth had to be when the school celebrated the beginning of The French Revolution, also known as Bastille Day. It was a nice occasion as the children engaged in French activities, in and outside of the classroom, to learn about French cultures and traditions.

I really enjoyed my time at Tolworth, and wish I could have spent more time there. I learnt many things from volunteering with children, such as patience, the different ways children engage in learning and understanding and the importance of a good work-ethic in a school-based setting. I was also very grateful that two of the teachers at Tolworth were happy to act as referees for me, when I was applying to educational agencies and schools for work. Thanks to them my application processes have run smoothly, and I have actively been working and gained experience in a few schools within the provision of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, since completing my degree.  

I recommend that university students should volunteer as much as they can, as you can never have too much experience, and I have learnt that experiences are more valuable than grades when applying for jobs, as recruiters can ask you specific questions in relation to the role you are applying for, based on the experiences you may have encountered.

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