Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tutoring in Brick Lane

Posted by Carl Fernandes, co-ordinator of our tutoring scheme

Every Wednesday afternoon, a group of volunteers sets off from Newman House. We are a varied bunch, comprising students from diverse fields of study and country of origin. What unites us is a small school in the east end of London – situated 47a Brick Lane, to be precise. It is there that we, the Newman House tutors, spend our Wednesday afternoons occupied with a spicy blend of addition, subtraction and, oh yes, sometimes even a little multiplication!

We teach the eight-year-old pupils in Year 4, with one tutor per child. We do our best to provide wholehearted encouragement, give the children our undivided attention and… hopefully make mathematics fun! To many, that may seem an impossible task. However, the kids’ smiling faces say it all - somehow we manage it.

The continuing presence of our volunteers in Christ Church School seems to have made a real difference. In the past couple of years, Newman House tutors have contributed to improved mathematics exam results and even got a mention in the school’s official inspection report. And from the tutors’ point of view, influencing a young person’s education always gives great personal satisfaction. But maybe we take part in something deeper still. After all, Newman House is Catholic, the school is Church of England and many of the pupils are Muslim. Thus, it is into a special ecumenical relationship that we, unthinkingly, enter as we set off every week. Through continuing links between the Chaplaincy and the school this special relationship will endure. Hopefully it will.

Well then, that’s what we get up to every week. If you are passing by the Chaplaincy on Wednesdays you may well spot us. If so, be sure
to give us a nod, a wave and a big thumbs up!

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