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Helen E

Tutor in Liverpool
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About Helen

I have a 2:1 degree in English and I am now doing an MA in Writing at LJMU in Liverpool. I have been working as an English as a Foreign Language teacher for 6.5 years. I have taught in Greece, Spain and for 3 years in the UK at a language academy in Liverpool City Centre, where I was Senior Teacher and the Digital Learning and Special Educational Needs lead. I left my role very recently as I wanted a more flexible approach to my working life, which would also allow me to spend more time working on my MA. I would also really like to tutor as I want to spend more time 1:1 with students as it gives the opportunity to truly plan for their needs. I have taught students 1:1 or 1:2 many times before, especially in my most recent position and I have always found it to be a very gratifying experience. My main interests outside of academia focus on reading and writing as I do both for pleasure. I am generally always to be found with a book in my hand. I also write stories, poems and I am working on a novel at present. I enjoy cooking, baking and working on my home. My husband and I socialise a lot with our family and friends, we also really enjoy long walks, days out together and cycle rides. My most proud tutoring achievement to date took place recently. A mature student, who I will call Rita, had been in a different class for several months when she needed to join my class temporarily. I quickly recognised that Rita was struggling and when I dug a little deeper into her record, learned that she had been studying with us for several months and had made little to no progress. I really wanted to support her progression, so the decision was made for Rita to remain in my class. I worked closely with her for several months and also with the Director of Studies, who at my request began phonics sessions with Rita twice a week. I differentiated Rita’s materials and activities whenever I could, ensured I photocopied reading texts in large type and printed them on green paper, which reduced her visual stress. I always checked she a) understood the task and b) was able to do it. This often involved some quick thinking on my part as Rita found it difficult to conceptualise verbal and written instructions. It took time and patience, but Rita is now completely able to function in a classroom environment. She no longer needs additional explanations and can use English confidently both over the phone, in person and when writing – all with much more precision than before. Under my guidance she went for a formal assessment and was diagnosed as having dyslexia, she is aware of her difficulties and where they stem from. We were able to develop strategies to help her cope and learn, something she is now doing. Her aim is to attend university in the UK, which will require her to take the IELTS exam, and she is now much closer to this than when she first came into my class. I would be a great tutor to choose because my experience is so varied. I have taught and supported students from the age of 7 years to 78 years. Most of my experience is ELT based, which makes me perfect for a learner who uses English as an additional language or is still learning English. I have also spent time volunteering in a British primary school across KS1 – KS2 and so I have developed a good understanding of what is expected of primary children. Grammar has regained its importance in the classroom within literacy. This is a strong area for me as I know and understand it well. I have also taught it very well many, many times to children, adolescents and adults alike. Another strength is related to my ability to develop a rapport with individuals. I always have a very happy working relationship with my students and it is always my aim to provide them with a comfortable and safe environment.

Helen's Experience

I have been working within education for over 6 years as an English teacher in Greece, Spain and the UK. I have volunteered at King David Primary School in Childwall in their Year 2 and Year 3 classes. I have taught more students than I could count in class format and successfully tutored 8 students in 1:1/1:2 classes. Whilst at King David I would regularly take children outside of their lessons for extra reading and phonics practice – these children were studying KS1 and KS2. I also supported them during Maths lessons. As an EFL teacher I have taught every level from Beginner to Proficiency.

Helen's Approach

I believe that anyone can learn. When I am tutoring or teaching I instill the belief in my learners that they can achieve their aims. I do this by building their confidence. This can be achieved by drawing their attention to things they are doing well. I also believe in constructive criticism, but I don’t think students should be overloaded with it and I feel it is important to advise them of how to improve. When taking on a new student for tutoring, it is my plan to ask a caregiver and if possible, the student to complete a needs analysis. This then enables me to start planning for the individual right away. I encourage familiarisation during first lessons. I do this by asking questions about background, likes, dislikes, hobbies and interests. These questions allow me to learn more about my new student(s) and also gauge their strengths and weaknesses. Written and verbal tasks can be used to do this. The main aim of the first lesson is to ensure that the student feels safe, confident and motivated to improve their skills. I also do goal setting so that students know what they are aiming for. I set homework regularly for students in classes and always with 1:1 students, but not an overwhelming amount. I think homework is important for consolidating understanding as it allows the student time to allow their new knowledge to sink in and also the opportunity to study unsupervised, which helps to improve learner autonomy. I teach exam techniques if the student is aiming to pass an exam. I focus on time management, planning answers to questions - paying particular regard to structuring paragraphs - and reading questions carefully to identify key words as students often answer incorrectly because they simply don’t read questions thoroughly. I also teach students to proof-read their work when they feel they have finished. This involves skim reading for punctuation, capital letters and spelling as well as ensuring they have answered the question they were asked. I have always made my own resources or used other platforms to create them, which is why I was appointed Digital Learning lead in my most recent position. I use Smartnotebook to a high standard, as well as Powerpoint, Edmodo, Prezzi, Quizlet, Socrative and Kahoot. As well as using digital resources for students to connect with, I make my own worksheets so that I can ensure they are personalised to fit my students needs. I occasionally select ready made resources from reputable websites such as National Geographic, Bitesize and British Council, which is for EFL teachers. Exam stress is becoming a hotter topic each year in Britain so I feel it is important that the emotional welfare of students is always taken into account. I think that the primary focus is to ensure the student feels capable in the first place so that exams feel less formidable. I also think that students should take practice papers so that they are familiar with the format and wording of exams. I encourage students to write what they feel good about after lessons and practice papers, what they feel they need to improve on and how they are going to do it. I believe that techniques such as these enables students to keep track of their own progress and find that it helps them to feel more confident about exams. My students tend to view exams as small, manageable sections of one whole item, rather than one large, frightening item. I have not taught online so far, but I have been a student with an online tutor and I really enjoyed the experience. I would happily try it.

A Level Adult casual learner Degree GCSE KS1 KS2 KS3
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