“What’s a consonant?” “LIKE AFRICA” – The advantages of being a tutor

Unlike the previous 3 years spent working in retail, I haven’t actually worked much over this Christmas period (that now seems so distant…) Usually, the return to work would be a dreaded experience and unfortunately this seems to be true for most people. This year, however, I was actually looking forward to going back to work because I have finally been lucky enough to get a job that I love.

The reason I wanted to write this is because tutoring is never a job that I associated with being a student as we all seem to be expected to work in bars or shops. Of course, it won’t be for everyone, but for me it’s proven to be an amazing opportunity. Here’s why:

Good training for the future

The main reason I’d never considered tutoring is because I saw it as a job for people with degrees or teaching qualifications, none of which I currently have. This job provided me with 3 days of quite extensive but efficient training centred around the current curriculum, teaching techniques and safeguarding, something that I can take forward with me into future roles. I’m considering a career in teaching, so this has been the most valuable experience possible.

It allows me to be creative

The diverse material used in school lessons is something I really miss, especially when I spend 4 days a week taking notes from lecture slides. Being able to create lessons myself means that I can reengage with the kind of activities that I used to enjoy, as well as adding my own ideas and trying them out. I’ve so far done place value pizzas, an inference activity involving matching families to holidays, and taught active and passive voice using a crime scene set-up – all have been well received and I’ve loved it!

It’s flexible

This would obviously vary on your employer, but I know that the majority of tutors within the organisation that I work for are students, and therefore the managers are very understanding when we need to reschedule sessions due to exams. There is almost always a tutor willing to cover your sessions, meaning that you can remain consistent by sending them planning for topics that you know need covering.

Increased responsibility

Working with children reminds me to behave like an adult. It might sound silly, but I am aware that I can be childish. I cry a lot over ridiculous things (not generally in front of people, but that’s irrelevant.) Having to set an example to younger children really does remind me that, despite what I may feel, I am 20 years old, I have responsibilities and I need to acknowledge them.

The grateful ones

Nothing makes the job more worthwhile than feeling like you’re making a difference. Not only do the teachers comment on the children’s progress, but often the pupils themselves thank me at the end of the sessions. I know they’re polite children, but for a 10 year old to actually comment on what they’ve enjoyed about your session after the effort put into planning really makes a difference.

Increased confidence

I used to be terrified of being in a position of authority, so being responsible for the younger children’s behaviour and safety was daunting to begin with. Another fear I had was talking to anybody who was in a higher position than me, for fear that I’d come across as stupid as for some reason I saw them as eternally serious, wise beings. My position allows me to play both parts: I drive to the school singing terribly to the radio and then realise that perhaps other teachers do the same, because we’re all just human beings.

Hilarious things they come out with

Finally, working with children has its perks due to the little entertaining things they come out with. I did a spelling and grammar recap a few weeks ago and asked, “What’s a consonant?” only to receive an eager “LIKE AMERICA AND AUSTRALIA!” This resulted in an argument between the children about consonants / continents but was far too entertaining to stop immediately. Another event involved looking through the dictionary, when one child came across the word ‘dab’. Mortified, she announced “OH MY GOD someone made up dab! It says here ‘press against (something) lightly several times’, the PROPER dab isn’t even in the dictionary!” (She was referring to the dance move!)

tutoringfi2

So if anyone has actually read this, thank you for a start! I wanted to write as exams have prevented me from doing anything recently, and thought that this was a positive thing to write about that’s relevant to my current return to work.

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