Coasting student to national young entrepreneur of the year

The word ‘coasting’ perfectly sums up the majority of my secondary school experience. Coasting is when an individual knows what they are capable of (let’s call that a 10 out of 10) whilst also being aware of the failing criteria (let’s call that a 2 out of 10) so sits perfectly in the middle where it is both safe and not too difficult (a comfortable 6 or 7).

I tended to do ‘just enough’, this meant that I would always put in just enough effort to stay out of trouble whilst not stepping too far out of my comfort zone and stretching myself. For a period of time I was absolutely fine with this; it meant that I did not have to work overly hard and knew that my results would most likely be just enough to pass.

This attitude changed one day after a conversation with my Dad after what I had thought was a successful parents evening. I had approached the evening with the same tactical mind as always; this meant planning the order I would see teachers in, to ensure that the teachers whom I knew would be kind to me where at the beginning and the end of the evening with the bad reports spaced out in the middle. Of course I had also been working extra hard in the approaching week which in my mind meant that the teachers wouldn’t be too harsh. Each meeting was generally the same, “Kamal has a lot of potential but…” followed by a list of things that were not so positive such as talking too much, getting distracted or not completing homework on time. I was happy with this as the word ‘potential’ to me meant that I was able to succeed even if I wasn’t right now! However once I got home the very opposite was to be expected, my Dad told me that when I “hear the word potential” I should start “worrying”. I was encouraged to learn the meaning of the word so after grabbing a dictionary I found out the true meaning. Potential – Capable of being, but not yet in existence.


It was like a slap in the face! This whole time I thought teachers were voicing their confidence in my natural ability whilst actually they were telling me I need to get my backside in gear! Just in case that wasn’t enough I also got my mock results back which fell far below what I expected and I remember being extremely disappointed and upset with the results!

I brought these results home to my parents who were not impressed. My Dad told me to sit down and said “from now on, C stands for Crap!” I was shocked! I nervously asked what B stood for and he said “better”. Better?! Better?! I was baffled, better than crap? That’s just average! I thought there would be a saving grace with the A grade. I thought he would say amazing, awesome maybe even astounding. I asked what A stood for… his answer shocked me even more and changed my whole attitude towards grades from that day. “Acceptable”.
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Preventing the “Summer Slide” with Online Courses for Students

Starting in May of each school year, the horizon of summer vacation starts to linger in the minds of students in every grade from kindergarten to 12th grade. With end-of-school year activities popping up, warmer weather arriving, and a host of plans for summer trips being settled, it’s no wonder that as kids get closer to summer break they start to lose focus on school lessons. The freedom of summer lingers in the air, and when summer vacation finally begins, kids are all too happy to leave the lessons and tests behind for a couple of months.

The Summer Slide

Unfortunately, during the summer, a lack of educational experiences results in what has been dubbed the “summer slide”: a significant loss of learning that is one of the main causes of underachievement in our schools. Research has found that on average, students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer! This common decline in students’ academic skills over summer break results in students starting the school year with below-level skills and having to play “catch-up” with lessons.

Preventing the Summer Slide with Free Online Summer Courses

The good news is that the summer slide can be prevented, and one of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to have children engage in lessons in various subjects over the summer. The CK-12 Foundation offers one such online program that is free for students to use on a computer, tablet, and even on their phones. The program, BrainFlex, is available in a format that is easy to use anytime, anywhere. Experts agree that it doesn’t require several hours of lessons each day over the summer to avoid the summer slide; with only a few lessons each day, consistency in learning is maintained, giving children a powerful advantage once school begins again in the fall.

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Why you should try online tuition

I have been an independent academic tutor for twenty five years now, the last two of them exclusively online.

Business is now booming and I teach many satisfied clients online worldwide. However, when I first started offering online tuition I encountered a lot of resistance from potential clients who were unwilling even to try this new technology. The ironic thing is that once they were persuaded to try it, in excess of 95% of them were hooked within minutes and declared it ‘better than the real thing’.

Let’s look at the advantages of online tuition over face-to-face tuition.

Firstly, no travelling time for either client or tutor. You just log-on in the comfort of your own home and you are away, cup of coffee by your side and relaxed and ready to go. Petrol is expensive and time a rare commodity. We all claim to have some sort of ‘green’ credentials so why pollute the world and stress yourself and your child unnecessarily?

Secondly, no pathogens! I used to get up to eight colds a year. Since I started online tuition this has been reduced to zero.  Why trail around a chilly, germ-laden environment (or invite a germ-laden tutor into your home) when you can stay snug and warm and minimise your exposure to lurghies?

Thirdly, online tuition is intensely intimate and concentrated. One major so-called ‘objection’ from the uninitiated is that they feel that their child’s attention will wander. If anything I have found the exact opposite to be the case…the younger generation are used to spending hours on end staring at screens in concentration. With headphones and a skilful tutor you are immersed in a total learning environment – the time just flies by and learning is rapid and effective.

Fourthly, the technology is so advanced now that an online tutorial is delivered in EXACTLY the same way as a face-to-face one. It annoys me when people talk about ‘skype tutoring’. That’s a bit like calling classroom education ‘blackboard teaching’ – it misses-out half the technology. Nowadays we have interactive electronic whiteboards (I use Scribblar but there are many others) on which both student and tutor can put notes, papers, mark schemes and so forth and write on them in real time. What the tutor sees the student sees in real time and vice-versa. It is identical to a face-to-face tutorial with a tutor and a piece of paper between tutor and tutee, except that you have all of the advantages listed above.

Fifthly, with online tuition you get the very best tutor rather than what happens to be available locally. Nowadays my 25 years of experience and unparalleled knowledge of the examination boards can be beamed into the home of anyone with a broadband connection worldwide.

So that’s five pretty compelling reasons to at least try online tuition. But what of the possible objections? Read more