Having joined the Tutor Trust in October 2018 as a Secondary Mathematics and Science Tutor, I had the unique perspective of tutoring in the wake of obtaining a PGCE. After moving to Manchester from Northern Ireland to study Physics at the University of Manchester and obtaining a Masters degree, my aspirations shifted from research to education. I completed a PGCE in Secondary Science at the University of Manchester, with teaching placements throughout the Greater Manchester area.

Coming into the role of a tutor with the experience of teaching the subject that I was tutoring came with many advantages. Something that tutors can find difficult is the prevalence of misconceptions at KS4 level, particularly in Science. Having experience in identifying, highlighting and addressing misconceptions ensured that they served as a platform for bettering the pupils’ understanding as opposed to a hurdle to get over. My deeper knowledge of assessment techniques (particularly regarding formative assessment) enabled me to use my limited time with pupils productively to gain an informed idea of how well they were receiving the content that was being covered. There has yet to be a tutor (and I doubt there ever will!) that doesn’t walk into their first session without apprehensions about behaviour management should the need arise. As well as walking into mine knowing that young people aren’t setting fire to their desks in the real world (in my experience at least…), I was comfortable in the knowledge that it would take an awful lot at this point to catch me off guard!

Entering tuition after having spent time teaching, rather than the converse approach, resulted in me appreciating many of the things that make tuition so unique in the world of education. This was particularly the case when it came to tuition in Alternative Provision, which allowed me to work closely with the children that I would otherwise not encounter in mainstream education. I deeply believe that Looked After children and those in Alternative Provision are in the greatest need with, until recent focus, the least consideration for how best to serve them in our education system. Seeing first-hand the extent of the impact that tuition has on the lives of the young people that feel the most overwhelmed or left behind, I was incredibly grateful to be offered the role of a full-time Alternative Provision Tutor. I feel very fortunate to be among the first to take up this position with the experience of teacher training behind me, as tuition is so much more than getting a taste of what it is like to teach – it comes with its own challenges, but also its own rewards, and serves a very important purpose for those most vulnerable in our education system.