A little bit about you – your story up to now and where you are in the lockdown!
I studied Natural Sciences – specialising in Materials Science – and now tutor science and maths, mostly to secondary school pupils, but I have had occasional adult learners studying subjects ranging from shipbuilding to ophthalmology. I was also the principal teacher of a university Scottish country dancing Society for five years. In lockdown I haven't been able to tutor in schools, but I have moved my private in-person lessons online with minimal disruption. It's also reduced my average commuting time!
How have you found tutoring online? Does it fit OK with the way you like to tutor? Do you enjoy it or are you finding it taxing?
I like to include real-life examples of what we are studying in my lessons centre around diagrams my pupil and I can draw. So online tutoring has not been a big shift – I have an interactive whiteboard on my main screen and can bring up textbook pages on my second screen. My hearing isn't great, and I find myself asking pupils to repeat answers more often, or we end up talking over each other because body language is harder to pick up. But otherwise, it's been pretty stress-free.
How have you found the technology? What issues have you had and have you managed to find solutions?
I have found my graphics tablet invaluable, as drawing with a mouse is awkward. Some of my pupils connect using touchscreen tablets, and this can also help with drawing. My other top tip is having at least one backup platform – if Skype doesn't give good results, try Zoom or even phone, and if one of us can't get the hydro board working, I can share my screen and annotate a PDF of the question.
Would you recommend the program to other tutors? If so, why? If not, why not?
Volunteering for the Foundation has been an important part of my job. My private pupils naturally tend to be from families with lots of resources, so the Tutorfair Foundation is a good way for me to offer my services to people whose families wouldn't be able to get private tutoring. And it is a way of ensuring my own knowledge is up to scratch – I think I know A-level Chemistry, but having to explain it means I have to get it clear in my own mind. Having schools involved in organising the tuition also means the lessons are more regular than many of my private pupils' ones, where I can have very full days, or very empty days that can fill up at short notice.
Are there any other comments you'd like to add?
I would like to thank Tutorfair for making it possible for me to find pupils from around the country as well as locally.
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