Volunteerism is a deeply humbling and noble way to address the holistic needs of the less fortunate in our society. In Singapore, volunteerism has definitely gained traction as more cognizant Singaporeans become more proactive in their volunteering endeavours. There are different categories of volunteering and you can choose how you want to give back based on your interests and niche. In Singapore, volunteer tuition is a popular initiative amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Given that Singapore’s education system has been consistently ranked as one of the best in the world, there is no doubt that there is a heavy emphasis on education. However, not every student is fortunate enough to enjoy quality education or enrichment classes. As such, volunteer tutoring plays a significant role in these students’ life as the benefits that it brings them is aplenty.
Now, you may wonder what the definition of volunteer tuition is. Volunteer tuition is essentially a service-based volunteerism in which you as a tutor lend your expertise and time to help students who are less fortunate. You can volunteer physically though an organisation or virtually using online platforms such as Zoom or Google Classroom.
Motivations behind being a volunteer tutor
Ability to make a difference
Being able to volunteer your skills, expertise and knowledge is highly fulfilling and rewarding. Volunteer tutoring makes a measurable difference not only for the beneficiaries but also allows the organization that you volunteer for to cut costs and do a lot more with the budget they have. As a volunteer, you get to share what you know and it is very rewarding when you get to share what you know with others.
The flexibility you possess
If you have a busy work or study schedule, you can always negotiate with the volunteer or tutoring organization to find an opportunity that matches your schedule. Tutoring programmes can take place before or after school and tutoring can be one to one or in a small group. As such, there is much flexibility for volunteer tutors.
Criterias to become a tutor is not so stringent
Do you want to provide your service to help students in their academic journey but realise that you lack experience? Well, fret not as the barriers to become a volunteer tutor is not as high. As long as you show and display a genuine heart to help less fortunate students who do not have access to educational materials and act in their best interests, you will be more than qualified for the volunteer role. Through volunteering, you will have the chance to interact with students from various backgrounds and personalities whilst making a difference in their lives.
Role of a volunteer tutor
Provide your beneficiaries free access to education
When you volunteer your time and skills to tutor less fortunate students, you are doing it without monetary gains. Ironic as it seems, you actually get more than you give. You have the autonomy to help them realise their hidden potential and to aid them in their academic development. The invaluable support and enrichment you provide to students is far-fetching and forms a support system for them. As a volunteer tutor, you become their source of empowerment as the standard of education that you provide is unparalleled to the education that the more fortunate students have, thereby enhancing equity of opportunities.
Leaving a positive influence to these children
Oftentimes, these financially distressed children may have emotional baggage and some become vulnerable to bad vices. Having a mentor or a tutor that they can look up to and confide in is ideal for their development and growth. Holding meaningful conversations with them or just discussing values in life can definitely leave a positive influence on these children. Sharing your personal anecdotes can also motivate them to achieve better academic outcomes.
Providing personal guidance and support for students
The point is similar to the one mentioned above. The key to providing personal guidance for these students would be to establish a close relationship with them. Try to engage them to the best of your abilities and be there for them during trying times. Your actions, no matter how big or small, will be deeply appreciated by them. Essentially, you will be the role model and figure that they will look up to. Your responsibilities would include supervising and guiding them in their studies and behaviours, teaching them to identify right from wrong. Additionally, the one-to-one attention that they receive can greatly help to boost their self-esteem and self-confidence. It is crucial to also provide a listening ear and give words of encouragement to the students.
Be in charge of planning activities for students
Some non-profit organisations such as Children’s Wishing Well in Singapore provide student volunteers an opportunity to facilitate and lead educational and enriching activities for students. Such activities include weekly reading sessions, arts and craft challenges or even a show and tell contest. The main goal of such activities would be to inculcate positive values in the children and make learning a more enjoyable process. Additionally, volunteers can also plan for learning journeys that encourage soft skills and include activities that build teamwork in children.
Other than planning events, student volunteers can also plan study timetables and include assessments to track the progress of students. As such, the role of student volunteers is an important one since they are invested in both the administrative and hands-on aspect of ensuring the children’s welfare!
Rise of various volunteering platform by student tutors
There has been an increase in tutor volunteering initiatives amidst the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. Temporary Academic Assistance is one such volunteering initiative started by a group of University students in Singapore who aimed to provide online support for students in need of extra coaching. Support is readily and easily accessible as students who need help can look through the list of registered tutors and contact them via email. The wide range of student volunteers ensures that there is a good support system in place for the less fortunate students who could be struggling during such times. This is a testament of how technologically savvy and innovative student volunteer tutors are, displaying the courage and tenacity to help fellow students in times of need.
Organizations to volunteer as a tutor
Heartware Tuition Programme is a tuition programme established in 2009 for upper primary pupils in need. Heartware’s youth volunteers are responsible for running a variety of events for their beneficiaries, including at least three reading sessions that last for 20 to 30 minutes each week. They prioritize a ratio of one volunteer to one child so that maximum attention can be given to them.
Club Rainbow Singapore
Club Rainbow Singapore is looking to engage the help of youth volunteers to provide tuition services for students preparing for critical national examinations such as PSLE or O-Level examinations. Their aim is to equip children with chronic illnesses with sufficient financial and academic support.
Campus Impact is definitely one of a kind. They focus on building children’s self-confidence and artistic expression through storytelling and presentations. Engaging the help of youths and speech therapists, they aim to provide quality education for the young from low-income and disadvantaged families.
Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC)
CDAC is also another organisation that interested student tutors can sign up for. It is a non-profit organisation that offers various volunteering programmes like Project YOUth Can Shine, kidsREAD, Family Befriending and News Sharing Programme.
Temporary Academic Assistance (TAA): Online
TAA was an initiative by a final-year accountancy student at Nanyang Technological University. He aimed to grow a pool of student tutors through the use of Google form where interested individuals could indicate how much time they wanted to offer.
Covid-19 Tutoring Support: Online
This is a similar initiative in which University students rally volunteers to provide free tuition. This was established when Home Based Learning (HBL) first started, as a way to garner academic support for students in Singapore.
In summary, being a volunteer tutor is one of the best experiences to have in your days of youth. Engaging less fortunate children in enjoyable learning experiences, helping them feel successful by giving them positive feedback and being a role model are some of the invaluable support you can offer. Your role as a volunteer tutor is highly valued as you have the power to enhance equality of education opportunities for needy children.