Irina Istode, University of York

Irina is a second year Linguistics student at the University of York. She volunteered as a German language support assistant at Fulford School last year, and has just completed a YSIS (York Students in Schools) volunteering placement as a classroom assistant with Bishopthorpe Infant School and Millthorpe School.

Irina IstodeShe was approached by Millthorpe to help a group of Romanian students to expand their English. Irina said: “I am able to support the Romanian students because of my background and ability to translate from Romanian into English.”

Irina’s ability to communicate clearly with students means she can talk about her experiences of higher education. “Students ask me about finances, what my course is like and the student experience; they have confidence in what I tell them as I can explain it to them in both English and Romanian. I have a better understanding culturally of what their concerns may be.”

Valérie McNulty, Languages Teacher, Millthorpe School said: “Irina is warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. She has very good subject knowledge, in particular in English grammar.

We have been team-teaching once a week for a few months and she has been a very pleasant colleague to work with. She is organised and easy to get on with.”

Irina has learnt a great deal from her time at Millthorpe, gaining experience in teaching and building her confidence in the classroom. “I have learnt how to prepare for a lesson and plan a class, and have valued learning how to deal with a classroom full of students.

I felt very supported by the staff at Millthorpe, they were all welcoming when I started and answered every question that I asked. They were always contactable and kept me informed of all lesson plans. I never felt unsupported at any point.”

Irina hopes to continue volunteering and gaining work experience to improve her CV and future prospects. She is developing herself by completing the Teaching English as a Foreign Language I (TEFL) module as part of her university course. Upon graduating from the University of York she hopes to to become an English teacher.