One of the things I love about my business days is the variety: proofreading, editing, and tutoring primary school pupils.
Tall Tartan Talks here … How does this blog post on tutoring relate to proofreading and publishing? Well, this is the beginning of my blog series about my specialism – education, teaching and learning – and how educational publishers and children’s book publishers can benefit from my expertise.
In this post I explore:
- Why my tuition lessons are valuable.
- How I got into tutoring
- Specialism networking
- Appeal to publishers with a specialism
- How I keep my specialism updated
- Education blogs
- Why tuition is in demand
It is aimed at:
- Educators and those in educational publishing.
- Freelancers (editors, tutors, etc).
- Recovering teachers who are considering adding tutoring to their portfolio.
- Lastly, you could be a parent/carer wondering whether their child needs a tutor.
Why my tuition lessons are valuable
While freelancing I have tutored individual pupils ranging in age from seven to 11, for up to five afternoons a week, in their homes. During and after Covid hit, I went online using Zoom.
My students all work at a level below average and need a boost in confidence. This is my preferred focus – my Unique Selling Point (USP) being that I am skilled at raising self-esteem.
By cultivating a growth mindset, I enable a child to make visible progress.
Let’s face it, couldn’t we all do with a boost, praise, and some positive thinking?
My favourite phrases that I use during tuition lessons to make the experience positive for the child include:
- IMPOSSIBLE becomes I’M POSSIBLE
- Don’t stop until you’re proud
- Make progress with every mistake. Mistakes mean I learn better
- FAIL = First Attempt In Learning
- Don’t quit = Do It
How I got into tutoring
Back to the beginning. When I was teaching, I developed a heart condition which led to sick leave away from the classroom.
Obviously it was a relief to be away from the increasing mound of paperwork (more and more demands on planning, deeper marking, and continuous assessment).
But I did miss the interaction with the children. After a year of online training in proofreading and setting up my business website, I was shown an advert my husband had seen in the window of the local newsagents:
‘Tutor required for girl in Year 4. Needs boost in Maths.’
He persuaded me that Year 4 (8/9 years old) was an age I had much experience with so I should phone the number.
I had mixed feelings … No, to be truthful, I was terrified. I had been out of the classroom for about a year. Even after the six-week summer break, many colleagues share how nervous they are to go back into the classroom – will I remember how to teach?! Anyway, I met her family and prepared the first lesson. To say I was nervous is an understatement.
I shouldn’t have worried – the hour of tuition flew by. She had fun. I had fun. She learnt. I learnt. We talked about her strengths and weaknesses in Maths, and that, over the next few weeks, she would tell me what she had done in school that she wanted to practise. I would reinforce concepts sent as homework by the school. Her self-esteem and confidence grew quickly which, frankly, was a delight. I was pleased to be making a difference.
Use your specialism
One of my takeaways from a Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) conference was the encouragement of networking. Going to CIEP local group meetings and events, if you feel confident enough, but also meeting editors with your specialism.
Education and English Language Teaching (ELT) are two of the special interest groups in the CIEP online forum community.
I must say I do get excited when I meet a proofreader who was a teacher or who freelances for educational publishers, as we have education in common.
Appeal to clients with a specialism
My teaching experience is a specialism I offer to educationaI publishers. I can describe ability levels and different learning styles; I am open to new pedagogies; and I adapt to the government policy of the day. My experience with educational materials makes me ideal to proofread them.
Also, I love children’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, and have proven my expertise to publishers and self-publishers. See my children’s book publishers page.
Updating my specialism
I was a bit doubtful about how to keep up to date with current strategies in primary education. Here’s why. The only access I would have to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) about current educational practice is if I was still in the classroom and employed by a school.
To offer effective and modern tuition practices, I need to keep up with developments in the world of curriculum changes. I need to match what is being delivered in primary schools, so that I can reinforce what is being taught in the classroom. I realised, after doing some joining-up thinking, that reading blogs about education, written by teachers, would be an efficient way of keeping current. They are, after all, sharing examples of best practice.
While researching for this blog post it dawned on me that I have read a plethora of blog posts written by fellow editors with suggestions on how to edit and proofread, helpful tips on spelling, punctuation and grammar, and how to write. But, I hadn’t actually read any blogs about education. Lightbulb moment!
I investigated Google and found many blogs about education. Teachers and teacher trainers have written about education, teaching and learning, assessment, and resources. But, most importantly to me, how teachers are coping with trends in education and demands from the Department for Education, and the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED). See links at the end for further reading …
Why tuition is in demand
As well as demonstrating my specialism, the other reason I have written about tuition is that there is debate around it. When should children be tutored, if at all? In theory, the input of the teachers and parents should be enough …
When I was a class teacher at parents’ evenings, it became more common for parents to ask, “Does my child need a tutor?”
In my experience, here are the most common tuition requests from parents:
- To boost those children who are struggling to keep up in the classroom; those who are below average, perhaps with special educational needs, e.g. dyslexia, ADHD, etc.
- To support parents who are too busy to help.
- To support parents who complain that methods have changed since they were at school. For example, they don’t understand the homework (Maths methods, grammar rules …)
- To support with the 11+ or Common Entrance Exams.
To finish, let me answer the question I asked at the beginning – Why do I tutor?The feedback from my tutees and their carers is why. The best feedback I received was from the parents of a 10-year-old boy with ADHD and dyslexia:
“I feel so much cleverer when Annie has been.”
Thank you to Lisa De Caux for proofreading (former SfEP Intermediate Member, now CIEP Professional Member).
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Contact me to check my availability for proofreading non-fiction, education books and children’s books.
Education blog posts
See the links to the other posts in my series on education and teaching:
Here are those UK blogs I mentioned written by education experts:
- https://www.mrpict.com/enhancing-the-curriculum.html – Mr Parkinson (Mr P): Using tech to raise standards
- www.teachertoolkit.co.uk/blog – known as Ross Morrison McGill, the most followed secondary teacher on social media and top UK blogger of 2018.
- https://www.chrisquigley.co.uk/blog/ – this consultant’s ideas were used in the last primary school where I worked.