What inspired me to take on Residential tutoring

10th November, 2023

One of Enjoy’s fantastic Residential Tutors shares her experiences and advice.

I’ve taught three children of a colleague from the school where I used to teach, and over the past six years, it’s been a fantastic experience. Working closely with a family and seeing the impact you can have on a student’s learning is truly fulfilling. This sense of community and collaboration is what drew me to the idea of a residential placement, where I could build strong relationships and make a significant impact on a student’s learning through close, extended teaching and learning.

My Favourite Parts of Residential Tutoring

One of the things I enjoyed the most was becoming part of a team. It felt a lot like working within a school department – I was part of a broader community that included Enjoy Education, the family, my tutee and her school.

Getting to know my tutee was a highlight. She had a talent for making learning fun. When we studied the history of the atom, she suggested we reenact Rutherford’s gold foil experiment using props and physical theatre. We wrote songs to help her remember chemistry, set to the music of Elton John and Katy Perry. We often sang together, and embarked on learning French using Duolingo in our breaks.

On a residential placement, spending so much time together helps to quickly build the relationship. The full-time nature of it also allowed us to make significant progress in a short time period, as I was able to provide continuous feedback that she could act on every day. That was so rewarding.

Tips for Tutors Taking on Residential Roles

If you’re considering a residential tutoring role, here are some practical tips:

1. Seek support and think of yourself as part of a team. It will enhance your effectiveness. I often reached out for advice and ideas about curriculum planning, how to build a relationship with my tutee, and Enjoy Education was there to provide valuable insights and answer any questions I had. My tutee’s learning support teacher at her school was also incredibly supportive, and provided all the information I needed about her academic work.

2. Plan for engagement, enjoyment, and success. Start by understanding your student’s strengths, areas for improvement, and learning preferences. Tailor your plan to make learning enjoyable and confidence-boosting. For example, a conversation with my tutee’s mother revealed her love for singing, drawing and netball, which allowed us to integrate these into the learning journey.

3. Embrace the flexibility that a residential placement offers. Adjust lesson plans and breaks according to your student’s evolving needs and interests, and seek regular feedback from them about how the placement is going, and how you can improve the learning experience. For example, we made sure we incorporated lots of movement into the learning, as she found it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time. We also used the local environment to our advantage. We were in the English countryside, and used the natural world around us to learn plant biology, dissecting local plants as an engaging, hands-on lesson.

4. Make the most of breaks as quality rest and bonding time. Engage in activities that both you and your student enjoy to recharge before the next lesson. For us, it was singing, sharing music we liked, or enjoying walks in nature.

5. Be ready to adapt your plan as you go along. Continually assess your student’s progress and adapt your strategy to best support their needs. Early on in my placement, it became clear that it would build my tutee’s confidence more if we prioritised topics she already had some familiarity with, and mastered those, rather than topics she needed to completely re-learn.

6. Keep the lines of communication open with the family and the tutoring agency. Collaborate daily to fine-tune your approach and ensure your student’s progress. This consistent communication was vital to our success.

So, there you have it – a glimpse into my experience as a residential tutor. It’s rewarding, filled with collaboration, creativity, and, most importantly, making a difference in a student’s learning journey. If you’re considering a similar role, I hope these insights can help you get started on the right foot.

Thinking of taking on Residential tutoring roles with Enjoy Education? Get in touch with our tutor team today.