I have worked as an English teacher in a secondary school since leaving university in 2004, completing the Graduate Teaching Programme to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). I taught across KS3 and KS4, but particularly enjoy delivering the GCSE curriculum.
In 2019, after working part-time whilst my children were very young, I chose to step back from teaching to spend more time with my children, and to do school drop off and pick ups and attend their school events. Fortunately, I was able to continue to provide intervention in school but also wanted to look for other ways to build a career that worked for me and my family. After seeing an advert to become an online tutor with Connex Education Partnership, I applied to work with them.
Since joining Connex in February, I have been delivering online tuition to small groups of Year 11 students, as well as one-to-one tuition for a student in Y10. I tutor part-time from my home in Buckinghamshire with the students being based in London. Connex were incredibly supportive in ensuring the students and times were the best fit for my skills and needs. Blocks of sessions running during the school day have enabled me to minimise any childcare I have required.
The recruitment and training provided by Connex was an incredibly smooth experience and I felt fully equipped to deliver online sessions with confidence. The virtual classroom has a feature where you are able to message both students and the school directly, which is great for sharing any issues and concerns but also providing the school with the content covered in the sessions and evidence of any good work produced.
My first tutoring session went brilliantly. Whilst meeting students for the first time online felt a little strange, the shared space of the virtual classroom quickly felt familiar and it didn’t take long to build a rapport. I tend to prepare sessions in a similar way to how I would if teaching in school. I usually work from a PowerPoint I have prepared that can provide visual guidance for the student. I make certain that my initial activity is something that students can work on independently to ensure any time at the start of sessions waiting for other students to join or dealing with any technical issues is not wasted time. Depending on the students, I use both the chat feature of the virtual classroom and the ability to speak directly over the camera/mic to question and gauge feedback from students. The tools for highlighting and annotating texts on screen are also useful for modeling answers or providing formative assessment.
I have definitely noticed improved confidence in the students I work with. My previous work in school delivering intervention and alternative provision showed me the ways in which targeted interventions can have a huge impact upon the progress made by pupils and the way in which they engage with the subject. The students I tutor are keen to engage with the sessions and the focused nature of the sessions mean that they are able to demonstrate improvements in their skills by the end of each.
It’s been so enjoyable to work with the Year 11s. They have faced such a difficult year and seeing the resilience and determination they demonstrate when working in this new way has proven to me how strong young people can be. It’s forced me to consider the ways in which I am able to adapt and challenge myself when faced with a problem.
I would highly recommend schools sign up to tutoring with the NTP. It is a brilliant way to offer an additional layer of support for your students who need it most. Tutoring can provide a fresh voice reiterating the content you have covered in class, in a space where students can put into practise the skills and knowledge they have gained at a pace that works for them.
Connex Education Partnership is a NTP Tuition Partner delivering tutoring online and in-person. Schools can access subsidised tutoring through the NTP by searching on our website.