samanthaBainbridgeGuest blogger: Samantha Bainbridge
BSc Accounting and Finance
Stelios Scholar, Carlisle, UK

Although quietly confident, when I arrived at THE London School of Economics I was slightly petrified… So much going on! But being part of the Widening Participation Tutoring Scheme is a delight and has allowed me to take a break from the crazy work schedule here at LSE! I have grown as a person both in confidence and maturity, and tutoring students has been more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. It has added so much to my first year of university!

At the start of Lent term I began tutoring Economics at Christ the King Sixth Form College in Lewisham. Within this School, participation in the tutoring scheme is a voluntary choice for the students, so when I met my tutees I immediately sensed their enthusiasm and passion to learn! I will never forget when I was collected from reception from one of the students who, upon arrival said to me: “Thank you for giving up your time to help us”. Whether he was encouraged to say this from his teacher, or whether he genuinely felt a sense of appreciation, we will never know! Nonetheless I immediately felt welcome and was no longer worried that I’d be that teacher that everybody hates!

My key role at the college is to recap what the students learn in their classes, clarify any points they found hard to understand and answer questions that they have. The tutoring sessions last 1 hour 30 minutes each week, and within this time I encourage the students to actively engage in discussion of the topic as I find that this is how I learn best! We have even engaged in serious economic debate at some points regarding whether or not there should be free trade, and how best we should combat unemployment. Things have got quite heated at times! Although the students were aged 16 or 17, I also found out that they had a love for quizzes (who doesn’t?!), and so I now prepare a weekly quiz in which some of the student’s competitive streaks shine through, as they even revise for it!

I am currently in week 8 of my 9 tutoring sessions at Christ the King Sixth Form College and I can already see significant changes within my students, even within this short space of time. They are eager to participate and some of the points that my students contribute are of an unbelievably high standard. I am constantly getting asked about the university application process and what it is like to study at university. It is so nice to see that their goals and aspirations have been raised and a particular student who was not planning on going to university now sees it as a definite in her future.

Throughout this scheme I have gained skills in the form of time management, organisation, and leadership. These skills have helped contribute towards my progress here at LSE, however more importantly, I am thoroughly enjoying my tutoring and the experience I am having is very special to me on a personal level. A student turned to me last week and said “Why can’t you tutor here permanently!?” This was enough to ensure me that I will most definitely be taking part in the scheme again next year!