If you would like me to teach you French or English, or you want some help with your university application, please do get in touch.
Having completed a degree in French and linguistics at Oxford, I returned to Durham, my home town, to do my PGCE at the university. I then took up a post at West Buckland School in North Devon, initially teaching French and music, and became Head of Modern Languages there in 2000. Over the years, I have taught beginners as young as four through to A-level students, as well as spending countless hours involved in music-making and helping sixth-form students with their university applications. In my spare time, I edited the school magazine, The 3Rs, which showed me how much I enjoyed this type of work and allowed me to learn about the editorial process, as well as giving me hundreds of hours of proofreading practice! In September 2012 I went freelance in order to combine my love of teaching with my enjoyment of scrutinising the written word. This step also gave me the chance to fulfil my dream to teach English, drawing on my technical understanding of the language and my long-standing interest in literature.
One of the reasons I gave up classroom teaching was that I realised just how different the needs of different pupils can be. Teaching one to one allows infinite scope to tailor lessons to the individual. You can tackle their weak points and capitalise on their strengths, as well as building a positive working relationship with them. In this way you can instil confidence inthe most timid learner and stretch the most able to allow them to truly excel.
I teach most of my lessons over the Internet using Skype and have taught pupils all over the world in this way; however, if you live locally you may prefer to come to my house.
I’m also very happy to help you with your UCAS application. I won’t write your personal statement for you, but I will give you a clear idea about what to include and how to structure it. I’ll advise you about your spelling and punctuation and generally how to make it sound good. I’ve been doing this for over fifteen years and so have seen literally hundreds of drafts. Talking to university admissions tutors makes it obvious that the best personal statements are more than a glorified list of achievements. They want to know what you’re like so they can decide whether you’ll succeed on the course you’ve chosen at their university. If you are passionate about what you’re applying to study this is easy. For those who aren’t so sure it is a lot harder. Sometimes the process makes people realise they haven’t actually picked the right subject, but how much better to know this now than once you have forked out fees for your first year. Soul-searching and research are the first steps to a successful application, but once you have got that far I can almost certainly help you to show yourself in the best possible light.
I have enjoyed music all my life and had my first piano lessons when I was four, later taking up the flute and violin and working up to Grade 8 in both. My love for music led me to take music A level, which has supported my practical music-making ever since. I started singing in my local church choir at the age of ten and have been involved in choral music ever since. While at university, I was a member of Oriel College Chapel Choir, Queen’s College Chapel Choir and the Oxford Bach Choir under Christopher Robinson, as well as singing in various ad hoc ensembles. More recently, I have sung in the Two Moors Festival Chorus led by Colin Howard and a small a cappella group, the Renaissance Singers, as well as supporting a number of other North Devon choirs. My first experience of direction was of a small group I founded while at school as part of my music A level. During the director of music’s two periods of maternity leave, I ran the West Buckland School Choir and in 2009 prepared them for a performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Exeter Cathedral. Between 2010 and 2012, I also directed the junior girls’ choir at the school, focusing on modern repertoire as chosen by its members. In April 2013, I took up the position of director of a new female voice choir, the South Molton Songbirds, under the umbrella of South Molton Sings. Among this choir’s notable performances are an SSA arrangement of Vivaldi’s Gloria (October 2014) and the Pergolesi Stabat Mater (May 2015).
Qualifications and Experience
- AQA Examiner (GCSE French) Summer 2015
- Self-employed Tutor of French and English 2012–present
- MA, University of Oxford 2002
- Head of Modern Foreign Languages, West Buckland School 2001–2012
- Diploma in German, Open University 2000
- Sixth Form Tutor, West Buckland School 1997–2012
- Teacher of French, West Buckland School 1996–2001
- PGCE secondary, Durham University 1996
- BA Hons 2:i (French with linguistics), St John’s College, Oxford 1995
- GCE A levels in French (A), English (A) and Music (B), Penrhos College 1991
- ABRSM Grade 8 flute and violin