An American in Tower Hamlets

As a part of my American overseas program, I had the privilege of working with THEBP on numerous volunteer schemes from within the Curriculum Team. I edited and organised various activities for Abacus and BEE, two multi-session programmes that familiarise primary school children with financial terminology (i.e. tax, interest, debit, credit, loans) and the world of work. Some activities I put together include a matching game about needs versus wants, a money word search, a bartering activity with products for currency and a budgeting game with pasta shells.

These were also my favourite programmes to attend because they were long-term, which provided the opportunity to work with the same group of pupils over an extended duration of time on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. This allows volunteers to develop a rapport with the pupils, which helps students trust volunteers and feel more comfortable sharing ideas and insight. As opposed to a programme where volunteers only work with a small group of pupils for a few hours and likely never see them again, the long-term programmes provide volunteers with the chance to share experiences and knowledge with the entire class through rotating to different small groups in every session. Not only does this allow volunteers to figure out which pupils need extra support and watch them grow, but it also eliminates the excess time spent on introductions of volunteers and adjustment on the pupils’ end.Hanna - H2H4 (003)

Another programme that achieves this is called the NumberPartners Challenge, where pupils compete in groups of two to four with a business volunteer in three rounds of math problems with a half hour for each round, to make it to the final round. I designed the final round of the 2017 Number Partners Challenge after researching maths anxiety to better understand the need for programmes such as Number Partners in primary schools to combat the onset of maths anxiety prior to the start of secondary school. As a maths major in university, I thoroughly enjoyed this and learned a lot about maths curriculum in secondary school and the process of curriculum being designed, presented, improved and implemented.

Additionally, I have helped to facilitate workshops focused on banking, apprenticeships and public speaking with the Enterprise Skills and Financial Literacy Team at various secondary schools. Not only has this helped me understand the community that THEBP serves and its wide range of aspirations, but it has also taught me about the UK education system and the business world as a whole. The experiences that I have had in the past three months have been immensely valuable in improving my confidence, public speaking, conflict management and networking abilities. I can honestly say that as a student, an intern and a volunteer, I have applied THEBP’s mission statement to my own life: learn more, do more, become more.