I am studying a Bachelor of Education (secondary) /Bachelor of Arts, and heard about Compass through a promotional email. In the secondary education degree there is no practical placement in the first year of study, so Compass seemed to offer a great opportunity to get into a teaching environment as soon as possible.
When I learnt more about what the program involved I realized it was a really worthwhile initiative, and now that I've volunteered with Compass I can see the benefits of being involved. I have learnt what teaching is really like, and my experiences have affirmed my decision to go into education. I have really enjoyed helping the kids, and seeing that my participation is actually achieving concrete improvements in their learning and really making a difference. Seeing students who were previously unenthusiastic about the program complaining when reading time seems over too soon, or seeing progress in the kids' abilities from term two to term three is really rewarding. I am constantly fascinated by what books they choose to read and the stories they tell me.
The school has been really supportive and welcoming, and always tries to ensure that the kids participate fully in the program. When I began volunteering I was anxious about how I would handle disruptive kids, but all the students have been really lovely and I have built a great relationship of trust with them. The Compass staff have been great - they've stayed in close contact with me, calling to ask how school visits have gone and constantly available for any problems that arise.
A highlight from my volunteering so far has been the Principal of the school telling me that I was actually making a real difference to the kids. It was lovely when I returned to the program after the term break and my students asked me where I had been and said that they had missed me. They really treat us as people who have real relationships with them, rather than merely as tutors. Compass has been so worthwhile, and I would really encourage others to get involved.