Ellie Tomlin started the ambassador role in October 2017 and became an Outreach Tutor in October 2018. She is in her second year of French and Hispanic Studies.
I applied to be an Outreach Tutor in September and since then I have delivered a variety of sessions in different places. My first experience working as Outreach Tutor was at Folkestone Academy, co-delivering the ‘Build and University’ workshop.
When you apply for the role, if you are successful at application stage, you will be asked to attend an interview and given a lesson plan for a session that you will deliver as part of your interview. That probably sounds pretty terrifying but it’s only a short delivery and everyone else in the interview is feeling the same way, so it’s a great supportive atmosphere. Then, once you’ve signed your contract, you’ll co-deliver your first session with a member of PDO staff. For this I found it helpful to co-deliver a session I had supported before which made it easier and less nerve-wracking! Again, co-delivery isn’t as scary as you think, just a little more training – and don’t worry, the PDO department aren’t just going to chuck you into something you aren’t comfortable with. All the lesson plans are planned to a tee but if you are unsure of anything just email!
I’d be lying if I said being an Outreach Tutor is very easy, it does have its challenges. As with other ambassador work, sessions can differ massively from group to group and school to school. To date, probably the most challenging session I have delivered was ‘Confidence in the Classroom’ in Tonbridge. ‘Confidence in the Classroom’ is one of my favourite sessions because it’s very active and includes some games, as ambassador Charlotte Musgrove explained in her last blog. The session can get very loud, making it difficult to get the students to sit back down and focus on the next task in hand. The students I had were great but it seemed none of them could agree on what to take on the ‘Dessert Island’ for one of the activities! At first, I let them discuss between themselves but then realised they would perhaps benefit from some guidance and additional support. In the end, I gave them a 10-minute break as it’s a long session, and swiftly moved onto the next task after they had re-settled. The rest of the session went smoothly as I split them into smaller groups which made it more manageable. Although challenging, this session was still good fun. A key learning point I took from this session was that you can afford to be a bit chill about timings. Yes, timing is very important in order to reach the session aims (these will be at the top of your lesson plan), but if a group is really struggling or not getting very far with the task it’s ok to cut it short and move on to ensure the rest of the session goes well.
I am proper excited to get back into ambassador work after the Christmas break and being an Outreach Tutor is really rewarding and boosting my confidence massive amounts. It also gives you another chance to experience a real-life interview! If you have any doubts about applying, feel free to message me (via the Student Ambassador Facebook group, or asking firstname.lastname@example.org to put us in touch). Otherwise, just go for it!