The Volunteer Spotlight is a feature that takes a look at the volunteers who are involved with ACE and whose efforts make the work that we do possible.
The feature returns after a bit of a break, with a new “host” asking the questions. Razak Hussein, our new social media organiser, spoke to Robyn Mercer, an English tutor at our Thursday session and more recently at the Saturday session as well!
Here at ACE we had the total pleasure of interviewing one of our wonderful tutors that has done great works and strives for excellence. She was a pleasure to talk to and beloved by pretty much everyone just from observation.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Reading and writing mostly, I’ve recently been reading Hotel World by Ali Smith, Terry Pratchett is always a good read. My writing skills cover a wide basis, fantasy mostly which I’ve always done but I’ve attended University to develop my writing and haven’t stopped since. Bits and pieces of poetry crop up as well.
Q: When did you first realise you wanted to start teaching?
A: Secondary school since I’m quite a language person, but I’ve recently done a presentation on the history of the English language.
Q: How did you get involved with ACE?
A: Originally through University, liked what they did and later received an email asking for volunteers to teach, I loved the opportunity and just went with it.
Q: What led you down this career path?
A: Love of teaching.
Q: Do you volunteer anywhere else?
A: Not at the moment, but would consider it if I had more time.
Q: Where else would you volunteer given the chance?
A: Girl guiding basically, young leaders that sort of thing.
Q: Tell us a small interesting experience you’d had at ACE.
A: Every experience is interesting, but it’s wonderful to see how keen the children are to teach and learn, during breaks they pretty much surround you teaching you phrases and words in Arabic and Somali.
Q: Where do you see yourself in a few years?
A: Teaching English.
Q: Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
A: I’ve made small games for the children and young adults at ACE to get involved in and really enjoy turning them into educational games and activities for the class. I also have a squirrel board game in the works. One of the games was using phonics and the children would have to come up with as many words as possibly, making it into a sort of contest, seeing their enthusiasm was very rewarding.
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: No pets, both dogs and cats are lovely, mostly dogs although a house rabbit is great.
Q: What kind of music do you enjoy?
A: Kings of Leon, Muse, classical music. I enjoy pretty much all genres of music thanks to being educated well in that area.
Q: Any advice you have for others in the same volunteering role?
A: Just get stuck in, don’t hang back be friendly and become friends with the children. ACE are fantastic anyway they do so much good work for people so you’re in good hands.
Q: Favourite Holiday?
A: Halloween, it’s fun and not overdone or over americanized and allows me to spend time with my brother.
Q: What things you can’t really do without?
A: My teddy, it still sleeps in my bed. Books, although I’m in the process of needing more bookshelf space. Teaching with ACE, honestly the interest and passion is intense there and really makes me smile, it’s great. Notebook & Pen, always have to write something down and finally..my open mindedness about people.
Q: What inspired you to teach English?
A: The history of the English language and how it has so many influences and well words have power. So it’s really interesting.
Q: Who are your heroes?
A: Terry Pratchett for sure, his writing has so much influences and the way he battled to the end through alzheimer’s, he never stopped, never stopped writing. My parents are also my heroes generally nice people and brought me up write, educated and taught to be open minded.
Robyn Mercer has been with ACE since September 2016 originally she was meant to split the load of the sessions with another gentleman, but unfortunately he couldn’t continue so she to our delight chose to take on the full task by herself. I hope to interview and talk to Robyn more as she is a very delightful person with a caring and charitable nature. We at ACE are happy to call her family.
Questions were asked and edited by Razak Hussein – firstname.lastname@example.org