The impact that volunteering has on your own life ...

A lady of leisure, I was lingering between applying for jobs and attending community training events.

I needed something to challenge my over-active mind, something to get my teeth into and that was the moment I came across Talking Together, a TimeBank English Speaking programme.

I was instantly attracted by this practical teaching course, and of course, I had my doubts - oh no, not with Time Bank - in my own ability and confidence.

“How on earth will I teach a class of women, English?” I fretted.

“Where will I begin, when the ladies stare at me with eager eyes and empty note pads?”

Needless to say, I was wrought with self-doubt and worry. However it soon faded away when I met smiley Elizabeth –a Talking Together trainer- along with a group of eager volunteers.

Step aside boring, tepid training session and say hello to interactive, friendly and refreshing training.

I had a blast over the three days training sessions and made some great friends that left me in fits of laughter; thawing my worries and fears. We all were in the same boat - volunteer learners.

Soon after training I was introduced to staff at Betram Children’s Centre where I worked alongside another trainer. We worked together and complemented each other with our ideas, resources and teaching style. He came from a teaching background, me-not so.

But that’s the buzz of Talking Together; you don’t need to have teaching experience to help others to speak! Yes! It’s amazing.

They provide you with a curriculum - the motherboard – and you inject your personality and tailor the class to the students’ ability and hey presto, they will be eating out of your hand or like my class, laughing at my silly jokes.

Over the 12 weeks I made friends with my class and the beautiful women came out of their shells and participated in class activities. They learn practical talking skills which they put to use in everyday life.

Shanaz (not her real name), who I am starting to gently fall in love with, laughs with modesty every time she attempts to speak in front of the class. On my last day, she bought a fresh batch of home cooked pakoras to our leaving party, simply delish!

In conclusion, over the 12 weeks, not only did it boost my students’ confidence, but my own. I could teach!

Now that looks impressive on my CV. A few ladies gained confidence to apply for ESOL courses, others will be mentored and the journey has only begun!

Me? Well, who knows … where there is a challenge, a new experience, there I am.

Therefore lady of leisure, I am not, I’m a lady who teaches the magnificent-English language and helps other women get so much more out of their lives.

Samina Bibi……signing off

If you'd like to get involved in our Talking Together project in Birmingham and Leicester, take a look here.