Pat has volunteered with SAVTE for over twelve years in One to One and Conversation Classes. We bought her some flowers to celebrate her final class finishing.

When did you start volunteering with SAVTE? 

It was about 12 years ago, I retired maybe a year or so before that. I was looking for something to do in my retirement. My daughter actually suggested SAVTE to me. I looked it up, and here I am! I have enjoyed every minute of it. It has been an inspirational experience for me. 

What drew you to ESOL and teaching English?

Well I have always enjoyed reading and I think that reading expands your world. I thought that something to do with reading and writing might be of interest to me; and years ago a friend of mine was doing something similar I thought it sounded quite interesting. And as I said, my daughter pointed me towards SAVTE, so it kind of encompassed reading and writing and learning English at the same time. Certainly, when I started volunteering and took the Ashiana learners to the library, I found that reading really helped their confidence and their English. That was quite interesting. 

Did you have experience of teaching before you started volunteering?

I used to be a nurse. All my career I have been a nurse. So my teaching was involved with training other nurses. I was quite a senior nurse, so it was always of interest to me to help other people to learn. I kind of had that in me anyway. I just expanded that into teaching English as opposed to nursing. 

You have quite a lot of experience with volunteering and teaching with SAVTE – do you have any advice for anyone starting their class as a volunteer?

I think you need a lot of patience, because some of the people are quite traumatised. Certainly some of the women I worked with had experienced trauma. So I think you need patience and to allow them to work at their own pace. Rather than trying to hurry them along, I think allowing them to work at their own pace is really important. 

What’s the best thing about Sheffield.

I think the people are the best thing about Sheffield. I have lived in quite a few areas of the country in my nursing career, and the people in Sheffield are what make Sheffield special to me, because they are very friendly and welcoming and prepared to help each other.

Interested in Volunteering? If you would like to meet new people, learn new skills, and gain confidence and experience, you can apply to Volunteer with SAVTE.