I teach mostly online. Tutorials last either 1 or 1 1/2 hours. I recommend weekly tutorials, on Saturdays or Sundays in term time. Many of my students have tutorials over their school vacations,
In-person tutorials, in the London, Surrey, or Kent areas, are by arrangement.
My tutorials are informal and fun. At best they work as conversations where the tutor and student make contributions. Rapport is really important. I get on well with my students because I treat them with the same respect I would an adult.
Reading for pleasure is a habit that cures many academic problems. In order to encourage it, I send my student’s books I think they might enjoy and benefit from.
Everything can be tailored to suit a student’s needs – and their interests – in a way that’s just not possible in school. This is a great strength of tutoring.
I offer three kinds of tutoring:
I specialize in English, Maths, History, and Latin, though I do teach other subjects. I also teach the Verbal and Nonverbal Reasoning papers for the ISEB and other pre-tests used in school admissions (see below).
I’ve been tutoring for a long time so I’m quick to identify problems, and ways to solve them. Likewise, I take care to look at what they’re already doing right and praise good work fulsomely.
Then there are the other skills that aren’t on most schools’ curricula, but which are important to student’s future academic success: Creative Writing, Essay Writing, Exam Technique, Oratory, and Rhetoric.
Motivation is key here: without exams looming to focus the mind, tutorials have to be fun. Whether my student is catching up in his weakest subject, or racing ahead in a strong one, I will do my best to engage and entertain.
I teach boys and girls, but I specialize in admissions to the top 20 or 30 boys’ schools in England. Two-thirds of my Eton and Winchester candidates are successful, which means my help doubles their chances, roughly speaking.
There are two reasons my candidates consistently beat the odds: my knowledge and experience of these schools (I actually went to one); and my ability to convey to students the joy of disinterested learning.
These tutoring sessions will take in the various intelligence tests the top public schools use to sift candidates. But most of our time will be spent preparing for the interview because these schools are above all seeking children who love to learn things for their own sake, not just for things like grades, praise, rewards, or even these coveted places themselves. Ironically, the only reliable driver of success in these exams and interviews is a love of disinterested learning. And this is what I teach.
Reading books and pursuing hobbies are grist to the mill of interview preparation – what does he get excited about, what’s he read recently? – because it gives them something to talk about with knowledge and confidence.
I also read poetry aloud with my students, not only because this is the sort of thing that happens in these schools’ interviews, but also because I want them to grow more confident in using their own voices.
Seven of my students have won scholarships to Winchester, Westminster, and Eton in the past seven years.
I often work from scholarship papers from the schools my students are applying for, whether or not they mean to sit these exams formally. These contain the most difficult and interesting questions, and preparing at this higher level means my candidates are rarely caught off-guard by trickier questions in their tests and interviews at these schools. It’s also more fun for them – honestly! See my blog for a sense of what this means in practice.
I love setting homework and I’ll mark anything any of my students write for me. And it’s my exam and scholarship candidates who keep me busiest on that front.
But the best judge of a tutor – in my opinion – is what his students do outside the tutorials. And it’s my hope that any of my students will show a significant change in their reading and homework habits after a month of weekly tutorials.