Mentoring A Level Students – Sarah Kerry Experience

Hi, I’m Sarah Kerry and I’m currently Charity and Volunteering Officer for GeogSoc. Part of my role is to co-ordinate the Longley Park Mentoring Scheme, which is basically where a group of geography students from Sheffield go into Longley Park Sixth Form College to help out the AS and A2 geography students there. We work with 7 AS students and 10 A2 students. The mentors have got to know the students well which has meant that they have developed an understanding of what and how to offer help to ensure that both parties are getting the most out of the project.

As I’m sure many of you can remember A level was case study after case study after case study. I know I can still recite some of the death tolls of various earthquakes and how many houses were damaged in the floods of 2007 in the UK. What many of our mentors have been crucial in providing is up to date case studies, that aren’t straight out the textbook, so that the students can ‘wow’ their examiners with their knowledge of current affairs in geography. What makes this even greater is you can see when a student has gone away from a session inspired to find out more about these case studies or even find new ones and come in the next week all excited to show you what they found out.

Beyond this, our mentors also work with the students on ensuring their understanding of key concepts and terminology is complete. Many students have also asked for advice on essay writing or ‘what’s the different between “describe” and “explain” in an exam question?’, to which the mentors are more than happy to help out with.

This week, we also managed to organise the AS students of the school to come into the university for a tour, in which Katie Johnson told us lots of facts about the university buildings and history. They then went to two mini lectures, one from Charles Pattie on elections and one from Andrew Sole on Ice Cap melt.

I’m excited that there is potential for the project to expand next year, with talks currently going ahead with another Sheffield school.

Finally, I just like to say a huge thank you to the volunteers from geography. You’ve all been amazing and your enthusiasm has made my job a million times easier!

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