I joined the Tutor Trust in Leeds in January 2019 as a Secondary English Tutor. My work for the past year was predominately with students heading towards their GCSE English exams. What struck me as I began tuition preparation is that, I thought I was preparing to impart useful knowledge to them, but I hadn’t appreciated the role my students would play in encouraging my own learning. As cliché as that sounds it is the case.

In one of my placements nearly half of the students have parents who were born outside of the UK and many speak English as an additional language. This was something I hadn’t encountered at my own school growing up and the idea of provision to assist someone sitting a GCSE in a language that was not their first language was new as a teaching aim to me. My students really taught me, when one day I gave them a non-fiction writing exercise to complete with the stimulus reading: ‘Your Head-teacher would like you to write a proposal for ways to make your school more welcoming to new students’. I had come prepared with suggestions about joining clubs and helping with homework and I was astonished and happily surprised when my students gave me suggestion after suggestion about helping students with English as an additional language. They suggested: Additional English tutoring, having themed assemblies for other cultures, helping the new students meet other people from the same country of origin and many more. 

It was inspiring to see that they offered a perspective that was different to mine growing up and I was very pleased that their originality in coming up with suggestions would stand them in good stead come exam time too! This led me to want to work harder to offer better tuition to students with English as an additional language, which is why I was very pleased when the Tutor Trust announced a CPD tackling just that. I came away better equipped to assist my students with various techniques to ensure they didn’t stand out in a group but felt able to contribute fully and get a lot out of a session. I am very happy to work for the Tutor Trust where it is evident that they want to continually push tutors to better assist with every student’s needs.