We asked tutor Simon and his student, Kevin, to tell us why tutoring matters to them and how it makes #ADifferenceThatMatters.
I am a Maths tutor with The Access Project, and I meet up with Kevin, a second year A-Level Mathematics student, in the local library once a week.
Although the school has given me some useful topics to work on with Kevin, I let him really drive the sessions. He lets me know beforehand what he wants to work on, but rather than me lecturing and him listening, we work on topics together. I think the reason the sessions work so well is that he is not afraid to ask questions and make mistakes, and neither am I! It is a true collaboration. This encourages him to suggest techniques and methods of solving mathematical problems without the worry of getting it wrong, and of course it is the process, rather than the answer, where real learning takes place.
We also both have a real enthusiasm for the topic and so are really engaged, which makes the time fly by: the sessions tend to last between one and a half to two and a half hours.
I think enthusiasm, interest and real 50-50 participation has made all the difference, both for Kevin improving his Maths skills and me improving my tutoring skills, and I have to say, he’s taught me a few things too!
It has been a genuine pleasure working with Kevin and I think he should do very well!
When I started attending the tutorial I was rather nervous at first as I did not know if I was going to be successful communicating what my weaknesses in the subject were, and if my tutor would be able to teach me or if it was going to be just a couple of attempts trying to explain something to me and then move on to another topic.
It turned out to be the complete opposite: Simon is an excellent tutor, he is very down to earth and always smiling and ready to help. When starting on a topic we start from the simplest term on that topic and we are able to easily and quickly build up on that. If either of us is unsure of anything we can just say it as we are aware that although I am the one being taught, communication is still key. And even when Simon implies that it’s been a while since he touched on a certain topic and he may be a bit rusty with it (he never is!), it is not really something to worry about because we can both easily work it out.
Every day is a great experience that not only teaches me about what we have done on that day, but it also makes an impact on my understanding of Mathematics as a whole — this allows me to extrapolate the knowledge obtained to a new topic and helps me understand things that seemed abstract in the past. It has always been a subject that I love but now I can appreciate it even more which is a very nice addition!
Overall my tuition with Simon is an amazing experience that really helps me in my daily academic life and definitely has made a positive impact that motivates me to study even more!