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Volunteer tutors conversation group in Ballarat

21 May 2024

Jack’s day job is working as an assistant teacher of Chinese at both Mount Clear College and Napoleons Primary School. In his spare time Jack volunteers as an English tutor for Chinese speakers in Ballarat.

Jack has a Chinese background but completed his bachelor’s degree in English and his masters in English teaching at the University of Manchester in the UK. With fluency in both English and Mandarin as well as teaching skills, he found himself teaching Chinese in schools in Ballarat. He realised that there were also people in the local Chinese community who needed help with their English.

Jack said that, ‘I’m a Christian and love helping other people. Some local Chinese, especially most of the seniors, are unable to communicate in English, resulting in a lot of inconvenience and even trouble.’

Jack became a volunteer English tutor in the Volunteer Tutor Scheme at start of 2023. The Volunteer Tutor Scheme is a part of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and is funded by the Department of Home Affairs. Volunteers are trained and matched with people who have recently arrived in Australia and need to learn English..

Jack is a volunteer tutor for a community based conversation group that Learning for Employment runs in Ballarat. Jack said , ‘I feel proud, happy and excited while standing in front of the students. For instance, when I taught them how to make an appointment with their GP in English and then they successfully role-played the scenario in English. I really felt how valuable my volunteering was.’

The students also appreciate Jack’s efforts. They rarely miss class and they do things like bringing in their home grown vegetables to share with Jack and between themselves. Even though they have real trouble with some English sounds, they persevere.

Jack recommended volunteering to everyone, ‘Being a volunteer is not just helping others, but you will gain a lot in return, becoming happier, healthier, more passionate and prouder of yourself.’