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Alta needs you ...Dear Future Volunteer

Thursday, February 22, 2018

If you have thought about becoming an Alta volunteer but worry that you’ll be getting into unchartered waters in the classroom, this article series is for you. You will have the opportunity to read about how seasoned Alta volunteers initially felt when they first entered the classroom. This letter comes from Alexander Bain, now a seasoned volunteer tutor at the St Aidan’s Anglican Primary School Alta class in Arouca. Alexander reflects on his first year as an Alta Tutor.

Dear future volunteer,

Welcome to the Alta family! When I first joined Alta I was right where you are—facing uncharted terrain. Like all new endeavours there is uncertainty. However, you have a team which has travelled the route and which you can rely on to get you to your destiny. Being in the same boat with you I would like to share my Alta experience with you. Firstly I wish to quote an excerpt from Zelda La Grange’s Good Morning Mr Mandela. “When you spend a day like Christmas in such poverty-stricken area one is truly and honourably thankful for your own privileges….”

Miss La Grange is a white South African (Afrikaner) woman brought up in the then apartheid system. She had all privileges not allowed to black South Africans. She had been employed as President Nelson Mandela’s personal assistant. President Mandela had asked her to organise a Christmas party on Christmas day. The party was for the children of Qunu, the village where Mr Mandela grew up. At that event this privileged white woman realised that there was more fulfilment in giving than in receiving. It is with humility Miss La Grange was able to manifest the reality of the difference between privileged and underprivileged.

Trained men do the job better

Alta training prepares you for the task at hand. The trainers and facilitators make the training enjoyable by their humourous, amiable and courteous approach. They buffer you from your doubts and errors. They are helpful and accommodating. The best part of the training comes when you have to teach your fellow trainees. That exercise is the zenith of the training.

Future volunteers we are so privileged to be able to be in a position to give. In so doing we can rely on our passion… the passion that led us to make the choice to become an Alta tutor. Passion is the fuel that will keep you buoyed as you stand in front of the class to deliver. Your drive and commitment to be the change that you want to see, the intense affection for this particular vocation, will help you to triumph any fear or hindrance that you may have. The passion to contribute to nation and community keeps you grounded to triumph in front of the class. It is passion that impels you to give of your time and talent to espouse social change in our country. All of the above will inspire you to remain steadfast in your pursuit to be an Alta tutor.

Practice makes perfect

So when one practices the steps shown by the trainers your fear of being in front of the class is reduced immensely. At first one may be shaky. But residing in each of us is the confidence of knowledge, training and preparation. These elements are what we would rely on to be convincing to our students.

Two heads are better than one

Team teaching alleviates the stress of having to remember large blocks of information. It also enhances unity and support for each other to bolster our confidence to deliver. Finally, there is the opportunity for team building and working with new people.

My fellow ALTA tutors look forward to welcoming you to the team in September.


Alta is currently looking for volunteers around the country but especially in the following areas: Arima, Mayaro, Tunapuna, Holy Saviour, San Juan, Santa Cruz, Gasparillo, Point Fortin, Siparia, Penal and La Brea.

ALTA needs volunteers to teach at classes across Trinidad for academic year Sept 2018-June 2019. Call 624-ALTA (2582)/ 653-4656/ 664-2582 to schedule an interview and begin the process of becoming an ALTA tutor.

Volunteers are unpaid. Volunteer, donate, sponsor a student. Find us on Facebook: ALTA Trinidad.


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