I graduated from Cambridge University with a double first in English Literature in 2006. I am also about to graduate with an MA in Acting from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. For many years I have worked as a piano-player and singer, and have supplemented my performing career with tutoring. My passions in literature include Shakespeare, Chaucer and 20th-Century drama. Despite my qualifications in English, I have perhaps an even greater joy in teaching mathematics. There is something terrifically appealing about its logic and elegance, and there is nothing more satisfying than a student suddenly connecting with a mathematical concept that he/she was previously struggling with!
I have taught for several years now as a private tutor. I have mostly been teaching GCSE students, with a couple of A-level English Literature students as well. The syllabi I am most familiar with are the AQA GSCE English papers, and the EdExcel GCSE Maths, although I have worked with other exam boards and have found the differences on the whole fairly minimal.
My results have been excellent. Last year I tutored a young lad whose school was insistent he should take the foundation maths paper, which would have resulted in a maximum of a grade 5. I noticed he seemed to have a huge potential and capacity for learning new concepts quickly, and I suggested to his parents that the foundation would probably be a waste of his talents. Luckily they took me at my word and successfully lobbied the school to enter him for the Higher Tier. After several months of working together on the new material for the Higher Tier that he had never covered in the classroom, being in a Foundation set, he entered the exam and came away with a grade 7. I couldn't have been prouder.
The year previously I tutored an A-level English Literature student who had been struggling with a change of schools and a teacher who was absent through illness for much of the year, and who consequently felt that school was not delivering the standard of education she was hoping for. We worked together twice-weekly across both years of her A-level study, working on Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, the poetry of Yeats, Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Eliot's The Wasteland and more besides. It was a wonderful journey for us both to explore those texts together. I was absolutely thrilled and delighted when she received an A* in her A-level results for the subject. It was thoroughly well-deserved.
These are just a couple of particular success stories I have had in recent years. On the whole a vast majority of students feel that as a result of the sessions their knowledge base is increased, and perhaps more importantly their confidence has come on leaps and bounds. I always look forward to the text messages I receive every August on results day where all my cohort for the previous year write to tell me how they get on. They thank me for all the help I have given them, but really the good results are down to their own hard work and dedication to achieve. I am merely a facilitator of that.
With regards to English I try to approach the subject in a way that may well differ from how they are taught in the classroom. The idea is to expand the toolkit students have at their disposal when approaching texts, to give them new ideas and perspectives to try in order that the text can yield up more of its secrets to them. I have found my Acting work indispensable for my English teaching; making approaches to texts more experiential and less scientific; trying to work out how a text is asking you to connect with it on an emotional level before you start spotting and listing techniques that the writer has used; being attuned to the sound of the words used and how that sound connects to the thoughts being expressed. Of course we also work on all of the language features and techniques that writer's use to achieve these effects, which bolsters the work that is done in class, but my students tell me they feel like they have a better understanding of why we are doing the work in the first place this way.
Maths is usually a much more curriculum-based exercise, shoring up work that is done in class, or otherwise expanding on it for students trying to stretch out at the top end. We take a methodical, step-wise approach building up the necessary portfolio of concepts and techniques required for the examinations.
I tailor all tuition to the level of the student's current performance and aspiration; for students on the lower grades the focus is on the core body of work that is going to ensure them as good a pass as possible; in maths this means confining ourselves to the Foundation syllabus and making sure the basics are really well-handled, whereas in English this usually means focusing on a consistency of approach to writing answers to examination questions.
|Availability||Weekends, Weekdays (all times)|
|References Available||On File|
|University of Cambridge||2012||Masters||MA|
|University of Cambridge||2006||Bachelors||BA English|
|Adams' Grammar School||2002||School||A-Level Maths|
|Unpublished feedback (Usually negative)||1|