100 Not Out

If I have my numbers correct, and as a Maths tutor you’d hope I do, this is my 100th blog article. Time certainly flies and as a cricket lover, I thought I’d celebrate this century edition of 100 not out with a look at how things have changed in the world of tuition.

A far more important milestone was achieved in 2018 as I surged beyond 10,000 hours of one to one private tuition. So, when asked why I have waiting list, it’s because of proven experience, backed up by results and references. All very different from the life of dreamed of as a sporting great striding across the pantheon of world cricket!

So, what’s changed in tuition over the past several years?

For a start, it is no longer the preserve of the wealthy or the famed middle classes. In many places private tuition is still perceived this way but that is all it now is, a perception.

The truth is that many families find the means to be able to invest in their children’s education outside of the traditional classroom. For some it’s simply ensuring that their child is reaching the required standards and for others there’s the inevitable competitive element of getting the desired school or university.

Tuition is for real, everyday families, no silver spoon required. As you may have seen on TV recently in a programme about the 11+ and Grammar Schools, many normal families see private tuition as part and parcel of achieving entrance to certain schools.

It’s been interesting to see that the use of a private tutor is no longer kept secret and is very much the new normal.

How has this happened? Lots of parents are prioritising the long-term investment in education ahead of spending on instant items, take-aways, the latest gaming consoles and the like. They are also becoming aware that the nature of educational establishment entry criteria means that average is not going to provide the choices one might like.

I believe that achieving one’s best is about commitment and hard work. Of course, natural talent is part of it, but without the required effort, underachievement is to be expected. It’s that drive and desire to be the best that no tutor, regardless of experience or expertise, can replace.

My career as a professional private tutor stretches across successive governments that have tinkered with the education system, and in 2019 we are no better off. There are too few schools regarded as excellent and this will remain the case, unless lower standards become the accepted norm, without attracting the best possible candidates into the teaching profession.

As always, this isn’t to criticise teachers in any way. They are fighting an uphill battle with each and every policy change and it often feels to me that the people to suffer are the pupils. It was exceedingly disheartening to read a recent article that showed that many young people simply don’t believe in the concept of social mobility and are accepting their lot in life. This means less effort as they just don’t see the point.

That’s a crying shame because, as someone who came from nothing, it really can be there for the taking. I always say that it’s a good education that provides one with options in life.

I believe that this is where private tutors can help to ensure that children do in fact reach their best possible academic outcomes and I for one will be doing my part to continue to make private tuition as accessible as possible.

That completes this innings and I shall pause for tea. I look forward to writing the next 100 articles and to sharing my double-century with you all.