I first heard the term at a funeral of an old colleague. I was introduced to the deputy head of the Dragon School. He said, “So you’re the super tutor that I’ve heard so much about!” Since, I have seen adverts for super tutors.
I’ll explain why I am a super tutor and how I became one.
I have tutored for 44 years. I am fascinated by learning styles and am really passionate about facilitating my pupils to achieve their highest potential. I encourage the parents to be part of the team, where possible and we often set up a WhatsApp group for communication.
My daughter had an English tutor for A Level, who sat on the other side of the table and lectured her, as if she were talking to a classroom. To me, that is no different from actually being in a classroom.
As a super tutor I create a very different atmosphere to school. My teaching room is a stimulating, but calm, environment with lots of exciting games and books. My dogs are very affectionate and responsive to the pupil’s needs. If a child is upset, then Arthur, the older dog will come up to them and calm them down.
I am there to create a special partnership with the child. I often have the parents as part of the team. I give regular updates, often in the form of a screen shots of their attainment.
I taught the Year 4 scholars maths and English at the Dragon School in Oxford. There were 6 sets and they were the top, so they were extremely clever. I realised that I could teach them differently, in that I could set them a task and give them clues if necessary. That way they got the “ah ha moment” themselves when they solved the problem. I realised that all children would like to have that feeling, so began teaching in a totally different way, which gave them a much more exciting and rewarding learning experience.
I like to think that I encourage active learning. Many schools actually encourage passive learning which, in my opinion, is not a good preparation for life. They are rarely trusted to mark their own work. I encourage them to do so and to try to correct their mistakes themselves.
I use the tools in my toolbox to make their learning experience as exciting as possible. I have a clear objective in mind but follow the child’s needs and mood to get the best out of them. I do expect them to concentrate and work as quickly as possible to get as much covered as possible. I work hard and expect them to do the same.
My aim is to inspire them and for them to reconnect with the innate love of learning that all children have naturally.
I am often called a door opener. I like to think creatively to solve problems. A girl came to me about 6 weeks before her GCSEs. There had been a family bereavement and she was really struggling. She was most worried about her maths and she had reason to be concerned. I suggested that she delayed taking her maths GCSE until November, which allowed her to focus on her other subjects. She did well in those and came to me in the autumn and was awarded a good grade in her maths.
Very few teachers or tutors believe wholeheartedly in home- education. I do. My daughter was at home from 6-11 and much of year 11 before her GCSEs, so I have had a personal experience of a child being out of school.
To me, education means the drawing out of a child’s latent talents. Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”. I use a very different approach to school, to sort the problems that were created at school. If I taught the same material, in the same way, I wouldn’t be able to facilitate the dramatic improvements that happen all the time in my lessons.