I had a long conversation with someone about volunteering the other day, someone who has spent a good deal of working life outside Ireland. Specifically he was talking about volunteering time to help local schools with tech knowledge transfer and training. In addition to that, someone sent me this this morning via twitter and it got me thinking about how it can be done rather than the barriers that tend to block it. Obviously there are elements of that last one that are irrelevant to kids outside America because we’ve different ways of doing things but some of the general comments about approaching problems of this nature and how girls tend not to push themselves are not yet history.
I did, at some point during my college years volunteer to help students in disadvantaged areas with some tuition for state exams but I don’t know, given the change in legislation and the need for background vetting whether programs like this still exist. I also like a lot what James Whelton has done with CoderDojo, and things like the Mathsjam movement.
I’m also aware that there is a lot of concern about maths teaching in secondary schools, the perception of maths as hard, as somewhere we’re poorly performing and from past personal experience, the lack of support, sometimes, for girls doing maths. I had a great, great maths teacher at secondary school – I gather he’s a head teacher somewhere now. But he had one hell of a battle and argument to try and keep girls from dropping out of the higher level maths courses.
So I’m looking at the possibility of setting up maths clubs not unlike the coderdojo idea but with some mad cross between mathsjam for kids, purely on a voluntary basis, or possibly going out as a speaker to secondary schools and colleges be it under the auspices of some sort of future planning/careers talks (do we still even do these) or some sort of maths talks and I really, really need to know what I need to know what from a legal standpoint…