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Tutoring - Exam practice

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by sispud, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. sispud

    sispud New commenter

    Hi all,

    Am hoping someone with more experience can offer me some advice. I have just started doing some private tutoring as my children are very small and teaching isn't practical at the moment. I've had an enquiry from a Mother whose son is currently getting C/B in his GCSE English but she (and he) feels he is capable of A/A* but he doesn't understand where he is going wrong. She wants me to go through some papers with him and point out what he should be doing and what he's doing wrong, but I'm not sure what to do in the actual tutoring session. I don't want him to just sit doing a paper for half an hour if she's paying for my time, but I also don't want to give him lots of extra work to do for me in his own time when I'm sure he has lots of coursework/homework from school. I also don't want to be marking papers in my own time (or is this unreasonable and just part of the territory?) Any comments / experience would be appreciated. Thanks, Louise
     
  2. sispud

    sispud New commenter

    Hi all,

    Am hoping someone with more experience can offer me some advice. I have just started doing some private tutoring as my children are very small and teaching isn't practical at the moment. I've had an enquiry from a Mother whose son is currently getting C/B in his GCSE English but she (and he) feels he is capable of A/A* but he doesn't understand where he is going wrong. She wants me to go through some papers with him and point out what he should be doing and what he's doing wrong, but I'm not sure what to do in the actual tutoring session. I don't want him to just sit doing a paper for half an hour if she's paying for my time, but I also don't want to give him lots of extra work to do for me in his own time when I'm sure he has lots of coursework/homework from school. I also don't want to be marking papers in my own time (or is this unreasonable and just part of the territory?) Any comments / experience would be appreciated. Thanks, Louise
     
  3. CathySupply

    CathySupply New commenter

    Hi Louise, I think we're in quite a similar situation (although my children are very big!!). I posted a similar plea and got a really helpful reply about a week ago. I also asked a more general question about priorities in all tutorials and again received a very helpful reply. People here are like that so I'm sure you'll get plenty of suggestions. You may like to look for those two discussions too.
    My two penn'orth is: I've just decided to follow some of the above advice and do bits of papers in lessons and kind of talk my student through it as he works (I'm attempting to get an E up to a C! - all not helped by the fact that I've never taught secondary English - am assuming you have). I did this yesterday and it was like trying to get the proverbial out of the whatsit. He went home with a sort of generic plan for writing an argument plus some words and phrases to sprinkle about. I dislike this sort of teaching by numbers but time is running out and this pupil is working at the level of most Year 5s I know. Last night I spent a long time marking a Paper 1 Section A that he'd done for homework. It took a long time because I'm unfamiliar with the marking scheme etc - however, I can't see any way round marking in your own time at this level. I wish I'd charged more (am getting the same rate regardless of age/stage). I think working along with the student helps with the time factor and also models higher level answers - I remain to be persuaded that this student will ever get a C however. I'm also working away like mad on his basic literacy - I wish I thought he was, too. Why do people leave it so late and expect miracles??
    Anyway, I hope this helps somewhat. Best wishes, Cathy
     
  4. sispud

    sispud New commenter

    Many thanks for this Cathy - it was a very helpful reply and I'll look up the earlier threads that you posted. I suppose I plan the tuition sessions (as I did for classroom teaching) so no reason why I shouldn't mark too. At least one paper is better than 33 top-set pieces of coursework (when they all used to write 6+ pages!)
     
  5. Be careful with exam papers, you don't learn anything from them. It's important to practise, but it should only be used in the run up to the exam to help reduce nerves. Good quality teaching is far more effective. I think it is a little optimistic for a C grade GCSE student to want to achieve an A/A* grade in a matter of a few months anyway. As a rule of thumb 2-3hours tuition is equivalent to 1 full day in school. I hope it's not an hour a week!

    Best of luck, if you need anything let me know.
     
  6. sispud

    sispud New commenter

    Thank you - we're having our 1st meeting tomorrow so I can stress to Mum what a big leap that is and suggest we use a mixture of exam papers and explicit skills practice. I assumed she wanted 1 session a week. It didn't occur to me that people might pay for more than one, but if you have the money and you want the results, I guess some people do!
     
  7. I have taught private pupils on and off for over 20 years. In all that time I have never once marked work in my own time. I often give pupils Maths papers or other work as homework for the next lesson, but I will mark and explain during the next lesson. I will look at the paper and mark scheme beforehand but never take the work away.
    English may be different, in which case you should charge more for the extra work. I only charge £30 an hour so I dont include unpaid extra work in my own time.
     
  8. sispud

    sispud New commenter

    English certainly is different - I always used to watch with envy as the maths teachers left school at 4.30pm taking no work with them ;) Marking is always a big issue with English. I think I'll just be honest and explain how much time it takes to mark papers and that if they want to do full practice papers I may have to charge extra.
     
  9. CathySupply

    CathySupply New commenter

    Blimey!
    And I only charge £20!! I do wish I'd asked for more for the GCSE student. On the other hand, he comes for three hours a week, which is handy. Perhaps it's simple market forces? I don't think there's as much demand for English tutors - certainly round here there isn't. And I'm not a secondary teacher (although I did do English at Oxford and have a PhD) so I don't have a lot of experience of actually working with this age group ... after spending a couple of years 'teaching' four-year-olds to 'read' at a little-known franchise I foolishly thought there was lots of work out there. I think people are fooled by the corporate image and the squishy sofas (my sofas are squishy but not really in a good way). The teaching of English there was ghastly but they can still get up to £42 a session for 1: 5 ticking!
    I know of someone who charges £40 for A-level Maths. Wish I'd done better in my O-level [​IMG]
     
  10. CathySupply

    CathySupply New commenter

    I'm so glad I've read this thread! I was feeling guilty ... now I'm just feeling daft! [​IMG]
     
  11. To put the charges into prospective, if you have to pay for a repairman to visit your house you would expect to pay £80+ an hour (even if they do not have a PhD).
    Garages charge over £100 an hour, would you also expect them to offer to take your car home with them and work on it for free in their own time!
     
  12. I've done some tutoring in maths for a friend's son, so not sure how you would apply it but we looked at papers and he told me how he would approach a question. I also use the "what else do you notice?" approach

    So if a question is about calculating the legnth of one side of a triangel he would read the question and look at the diagram and tell me how he will aproach it, will he use pythagaros therem? Does he know what the therem says? What is it based on? What other theories / equations linked to triangles soes he know? Why use one and not the other?

    I know English is very different and not sure how much this helps.

    One thing I was taught back in the day is that you do not have to do the paper in the order it is set out - if you find one particular kind of question easy then do that first.
    How to time manage when taking an exam paper - if you don't know the answer then pass on to another question and come back to it. If you don't know the full answer then do you know something about it? If so put some notes and come back to it.

    I know that sounds obvious but to children it isn't always.


     

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