Continuing our Volunteers Week blog series, we hear from Abbas Tutcuoglu, an Aeronautical Engineering student from Imperial University, who runs a Code Club in London. Abbas filled us in about what inspired him to get involved:
Where I grew up in Germany, I experienced the uneven chances in education based on different financial backgrounds from a very early age. I felt that many of my friends who ended up in Hauptschule (secondary school with lowest future job prospects) actually had the potential to make it to Gymnasium (secondary school with highest job prospects), but simply haven’t received the necessary support during their time in primary school.
Often, this is because both parents have to work and don’t understand the local school system, which makes it difficult for them to provide any useful help to their children. In other cases, they underestimate the myriad opportunities that a good education can provide.
I therefore got involved with Code Club because I felt that sharing my own knowledge might help other disadvantaged students to receive the support that some of my peers growing up lacked, and it might help grant them equal chances of success in their future.
I really enjoy being part of Code Club because I get the opportunity to share my knowledge with others. I didn’t know any HTML before I started running my club, so I actually got to teach myself something useful as well! As a busy student, volunteering with a club gives you the chance to leave work aside for a moment, and work on your communication skills, patience and social engagement.
One of my best Code Club moments came during one of the last sessions in December, after having covered all topics in the Scratch-section, we decided to let the children choose one of the games uploaded by other developers, in order to see how far they can take programming with Scratch. The great thing about this was that all the corresponding code to the game was available as well and so students would simply change them as soon as they got stuck. So basically, without having our instructions in front of them and without anyone urging them to use Scratch, they would use their skills to simplify and circumvent problems.