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Three years of tutoring

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

We asked one of our longstanding tutors, Jacob, who is sadly in his last term of tuition with us at S4S, to reflect on his experience of tutoring this year. We hope you enjoy the read, we certainly did!

"Have you got any more questions?”

It’s the end of our tutoring session. Except it isn’t me asking my student if she has any more questions – she is asking me.

My student this term is remarkable. The first time we met, she told me cheerily that she knows most people don’t like school, then paused, smiled quizzically, and said that she does. When she gets into the flow of describing something – a book, or a school trip – she stands up mid-sentence, as if the excitement compels her to levitate. For World Book Day, she was dressed up as Matilda, of course.

All this in her second language; her family moved here a few years ago. I was assigned as her tutor because she sometimes struggles with verb conjugations, sometimes cannot quite find the right word, and her teacher is determined that this will not hold her back as she goes into secondary school.

This particular Friday, she happened to start telling me about her home country. Why they left, how it’s different here, what she likes and dislikes about both. “There are rules over there, but people don’t really care,” she said, offering a comparative political analysis beyond her years. And also the people there are a lot nosier.

Being a Students4Students tutor, we have the freedom to teach beyond the scope of the exam, so I could just ask questions and listen to her replies, an invaluable skill that most students don’t get to practice in a class of 30.

Having tutored for almost three years, the kids have been – without exception – smart, interesting and full of potential. They are charming and kind and each with their own passions and interests. And often I wonder whether they’re teaching me more than I’m teaching them.

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