I started working at BYT St Albans as a Maths and English tutor. I have since taken on Secondary Success, GCSE and Creative writing classes, as well as teaching students privately on a one-to-one or small group basis.
Much of my time at the centre is taken up with lesson planning and admin — it’s amazing how time consuming printing can be! I generally have my lessons planned the week before, so that I don’t get caught out by any unexpected issues. Our booklets for younger years are excellent resources, and they make sure we don’t run out of practice questions for the students.
In Secondary Success English, we work on ensuring that our students have been taught conventional and correct spelling and grammar. These classes often have a real mix of abilities, even within the same year group. In these classes, the focus is on building up the skills to tackle GCSE content, so our materials cover comprehension, inference and analysis, and writing — both creative and analytical.
Creative Writing allows the children to have a bit more fun with their writing, incorporating discussion, drawing and word games. One of my students in Year 2 tells the most amazing stories out loud, but struggles to put them down on paper, so we often work on putting stories into simple sentences. Another student in the same class thinks funny stories are the same as horror stories, so we’ve had some interesting discussions about that too.
Building relationships with older private students is also hugely important. I see private students for anything between one and eight hours in a week. Private tuition gives students the ability to ask the questions they may have feared were stupid when in a larger group, and one of my most important roles in those larger groups is to ensure that students feel noticed, but not embarrassed.
Teaching at BYT has been incredibly rewarding, especially seeing the eyes of a student light up when they finally understand a topic that they’ve been having difficulties with. We have students that come to us speaking only basic English as their second language, and go away chatting happily. Others come for their 11+ exams, and go away with a place at their top choice of secondary school. We experience some of their struggles and frustrations along the way, but we also get the pleasure of knowing that we’ve helped them to conquer and achieve.
Ellie — Tutor BYT St Albans