Updated: Jul 22, 2020
I often get asked why I got into teaching. When I was younger I had absolutely no ambition of becoming a teacher. I never dreamed of being in the classroom & I certainly didn’t take the conventional route. If you had known me as recently as 15 years ago, you would not have thought I would end up here. Today I’ll be sharing my story, and hopefully it will give you a bit more of an intimate insight into who I am and why I teach.
How it all started
A long time ago I made a decision that I did not want my kids to go to a state school. Reading all the shocking and scandalous articles in the tabloids, hearing about the trials and tribulations friends and relatives were going through, and seeing what was going on in the community with my own eyes and memories from my own personal experience helped me reach these conclusions (not that I still hold these views).
I decided that I wanted my child to go to a private school- however is private schools cost a substantial amount of money. At the time I thought to myself this may be a problem, and put my mind to work on how I could solve this problem. Gifted and talented children are often offered scholarships into some of the top institutions, so I decided that I will get my kids scholarships. Sounds simple enough, but I knew that that would take a great deal of work on my part. I had little faith in the education system as you can see my comments above, so I made the decision that I would personally take responsibility for my children’s education. The stage was set.
At that point I had no experience in teaching, educating or working with young people. I realised that it would take a conscious and concerted effort on my part to put myself into a position where I could make this work. I have a burning desire for my children to get the best start in life, and I was willing to do my best to provide an environment where success would not just be is possible, but inevitable. I refused to let the challenges which may lay ahead put me off, and got to work on my mission to acquire the skills, experiences and competencies I would need to turn my vision into a reality.
I started off with an application to my university Widening Participation & Student Ambassador programmes. Within the widening participation programme is the tutoring scheme. I made enquiries about it and was subsequently placed to work with a student in a North London school. Fantastic I thought, however there was a twist. I had been assigned to a so-called ‘challenging student’.
Let’s call him Dwayne. I was told he had come from a ‘broken home’ and didn’t live in the most salubrious parts of town. I was told he was part of gang, and was involved in drugs. I was informed he was one of the most badly behaved children in the school. I was told he was disruptive in class, had poor attendance and truanted frequently. I was tasked to tutor him in Maths. I was asked to help him get up to a C Grade, however he was currently on a U grade and I only had 6 months before his final exams! I later found out the only reason they wanted me to work with him was so he would be removed from the class & not disturb anyone else. It was clear to me they had written him off. I’m sure his story is probably one you are all somewhat familiar with.
I thought to myself this isn’t what I signed up for. What a cruel twist of fate! But I was wrong. It turned out to be one of the most fascinating and rewarding challenges of my life. One of the things I’ve learned in my life about problems, is that often the more challenging the problem, the more rewarding the solution. This was no exception and I was highly rewarded with many different types of blessings that have shaped the tutor, mentor and man that I am today.
I got stuck in- it was too late to back out now. When I met initially met his teachers they showed me his grades. He scoring poorly in assessments (the ones that he showed up to), and was on course to fail his GCSE Maths. I started by assessing his ability through initial testing and observation. Through this I identified he was reasonably competent but scored poorly because of his lack of attention to detail, rushing and not checking his answers as well. He also had low levels of motivation, was not interested in education, and didn’t believe he could succeed. He could see the school had given up on him, and it was turning into a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Upon meeting him I developed and implemented a tailor made programme to address these issues to improve his performance. I also mentored him, listened to him, acted as a role model, talked to him about university life and further education, and put things into perspective from a perspective that he could relate to.
What happened next
As a result his behaviour improved dramatically, his attendance has rose to 93%, he began competing coursework and his grades improved not just in maths but in all subjects. He made exceptional progress in maths, and in the space of 6 months I was able to get his grade up from a U to a C (this was pre 9-1). He completed his GCSE’s this summer and achieved the grades needed to progress to college.
As a result of my hard work and endeavours I received an award at my university. The school were also very impressed and invited me to come back next year, telling me they had loads more students like him. After that I went on to continue tutoring, and started mentoring. I taught ICT classes as an IT tutor at a community centre, and went gone on to tutor privately in a wide range of subjects including Maths, Science, English & ICT over a long period of time. I also started to diversify to develop my experience, and have taught key stage 2 and 3 children, as well as prepared students for the 11plus entry exams.
From my initial experience with the student described above and with other I now specialise in tutoring and mentoring so called ‘challenging students’. I bring out the best in people by breaking down barriers, letting them know that success is possible, and inspiring them to go the extra mile reach their full potential and got involved in many other initiatives with the ambition of increasing the numbers of underrepresented groups into higher education.
Since then I have gone from strength to strengths and I am well on track to achieving my goal of becoming an awesome role model and teacher for my kids and get them into the schools of my choice. I never in my wildest dreams envisioned how good I would become at this, how much I would enjoy it or that I would actually be able to forge a career out of it. Whether that be by helping out with homework, helping children understand and keep up with what is going on in class, giving them the knowledge and the confidence needed to excel or developing within them inspiring a burning desire to succeed. I have a 100% pass rate at GCSE in all subjects I tutor in which puts me in a great position to help all children succeed too.
Fast forward and I went on to become a teacher, teaching in secondary schools in North, East & South London. My experience also includes working with children with learning difficulties and special educational needs (SEN). Additionally I have supported private candidates and home schooled students and know the curriculum very well and keep abreast with it’s latest developments and also specialise in distance learning and e-learning. When I talk to parents about my story they listen in awe and amazement and often ask me how I do it or what can they do to help their child succeed. Now I have come full circle; I stopped teaching in schools and now offer private tuition, mentoring and coaching full time. Covid is going to affect our communities disproportionately & I’m starting to see the effects of that already. I recently started my business, soaring stars education to offer my services more widely and help more of our children.
Please visit my website https://soaringstarseducation.comfor more information about me, or to book a free consultation & trial session, check out the blog section for tips, help and advice on how you can help your child achieve during these turbulent times and follow & engage with us out on Instagram & Twitter (@soaringstarsedu) and Soaring Stars Education.
Peace & love