Today is my fifth full day off in all of 2016. I am still tired but slowly getting the well deserved rest that I have needed so I am putting down my thoughts as they swim around in my head now; Online tuition, tutor meet-ups, Science kits, expanding my tutoring age range, and Dyscalculia tuition. I have learnt and done a lot of new things this year.
Teaching A Level maths online.
Yesterday the 2015-2016 season came to an end for me and the week before I was tutoring 7 to 8hrs daily. Except for 4 days, I was teaching every single day in 2016 until then, even if on some days it was just 2hrs. This final week felt like the grand finale of a great fireworks display that went with medium intensity throughout with the occasional intense burst, but then went full blast towards the end.
This week has seen me say goodbye to many long term students as they graduate into the next phase of their lives. All goodbyes are hard, but the homeschooling ones were particularly hard. With homeschooling I felt 100% responsible for their education in that subject and I was an integral part of student’s lives over the last two years, and conversely they and their families were a part of my life too.
Tutoring a 7 year old with Dyscalculia using Cuisenaire rods. Another first for me this year.
I have been tutoring for 10 years now and am used to steady growth of my tuition, but 2015-2016 doubled the demand on my time within just one year, and I have been overwhelmed by the growth of online tuition. Nothing had prepared me for this level of demand on my time. I took on the challenge though and managed the logistical, business and teaching side of it. I simultaneously also started tutoring Dyscalculia to adults, started maths with children as young as 6 and got hold of Science kits for hands on demonstration and play. The growth of my online tuition meant I had more money to attend courses and buy more educational material. One area of growth spiraled other areas and it was a great cycle of self perpetuating growth.
Playing piano at a student home.
I will reflect more on this but so many new things happened in my world of tuition this school year that I will always remember it as a pivotal turning point in my tutoring career. Online tuition meant a more online presence for me in general. This meant I actively seeked out other tutors, and starting organising tutor meet-ups in London. Another tutor started meet-ups in the Midlands and we joined forces. A dedicated community of passionate tutors started meeting each other both in real life and I even arranged a Google Hangouts of tutors. Small tutor networks joined up to be bigger ones, and this process is still continuing as I become part of US and international online tutor networks. So far we had all worked in isolation for years as face to face tutors, but in the last few months great minds have been collaborating and coming together.
Electricity is way more fun to learn when playing with circuits.
I have met some incredible tutors over the last few months, both face to face and online. Every one truly dedicated and giving 100% to what they do. Communicating with other great tutors has stimulated and inspired me to no end. The future of teaching is being defined by a few renegade and maverick tutors out there who are working independently of any constraints, and it will be years before we see the educational reforms we are coming up with, before they are rolled out and accepted amongst mass education.
Back to teaching though, lighting up students’ minds with enthusiasm and making sense of what never made sense before is always a real joy to me, and I found my ‘work’ purpose in life when I found tutoring by accident. This is what kept me going through all these months non-stop. It wasn’t always healthy for me and next year I plan on having a better work life balance. Sometimes people would ask if I ever get bored of teaching, and I would just say:
“I get tired sometimes yes, but bored….never”.