A Whirlwind Adventure by Zainab Oyekunle

I have been fortunate enough to be able to experience the full range of support that Yipiyap offer to schools. This has not only been a great opportunity for myself, but also for my personal development. Though primarily focused on group sessions and in-class support, I was also part of an alternative provision by catering to a student waiting for a school placement. Through one-to-one tuition and the time spent together, this fostered a greater relationship with the student (this is what yipiyap excels at) and enabled an environment that was conducive to learning. The student I was placed with could engage with specific and challenging tasks and I enjoyed tailoring our day to subjects he found difficult to provide the assistance he needed. It felt special to know the work I was doing would help him through the transition to his next school, and make sure it was as smooth as possible. He had been removed from his lessons for a good number of months, so this was the main objective and we were also slowly able to introduce other subjects such as History and R.E to further reduce the bridge that was created. It was very rewarding to see the excitement I had for learning reciprocated in this student.

As the title suggests, my year with yipiyap has been an adventure. For several months, I was placed in my old school. The move from being a sixth former to a member of staff was more marked. I was now a trusted member of staff and treated accordingly, and it took me longer to accept this change than others. Being able to call a teacher by name who had taught me was so alien to me that it took me a while to get over the instilled instinct. I found myself accidentally using “Sir” and “Miss”, though this did eventually wear off. It made it easier not having to adjust to a new school as I was already familiar with where everything was and this made the job much easier, taking away the pressures that come with a new school enviroment. So, there were some positives to the experience. I also believed it to be very positive for the students I worked with, who recognised me from around the school. It also made it easier to relate to one another and hopefully act as an inspiration that hard work does pay off.

One of the most enjoyable placements for me was the one at New Charter Academy. I was brought in to help Year 8 students, with focus on literacy intervention to assist reading improvements. This is something I am very passionate about and it cultivated my growth and learning when I was younger, so it was great to be able to share my love of it with the kids and see improvements. The feedback the students give is the best reward – ranging from how comfortable they feel in the sessions and how they are more confident readers as a result. I also provide in-class support and this allows me to make a link between what I observe in the classroom and what I do in my sessions. Many of the students I do intervention with are in the classes I attend, so it’s rewarding to be able to chart their progress in class as well.

This is merely a snapshot in my year with Yipiyap and it’s not over yet: I can most definitely say I am well-travelled because of working for the company – at least around Greater Manchester! The great multitude of placements has also meant I have not stopped learning, as every student and every school has been different and challenging in its own way. It has been an amazing challenge, one I can say I’m proud to have completed.