Los Angeles (LAX-0517)

An able and experienced educator is required for a long-term assignment starting in September 2017 if possible, or by January 2018 at the latest (an interim Tutoring role between those dates may also be considered). The role involves tutoring one boy aged 10. It will suit an energetic, inspiring and knowledgeable Tutor with an interest in engineering and construction, and a natural curiosity for the way things work. The role potentially involves extensive world travel and is renewable on an annual basis on the agreement of both parties.

The Student

The student is an only child, aged 10. He is a genuinely lovely young man – bright, articulate and engaged with the world around him. He is highly gregarious, and interacts well with children of his own age and with adults. He is an intelligent and interested child who enjoys a range of activities. He is a talented sportsman, and delights in the world of aerial gymnastics. He is very happy to combine moves from corde lisse with those borrowed from disciplines such as parkour, and embraces this kind of skill with the enthusiasm that comes from being 10 and feeling invincible. Alongside his sports, he has a penchant for technical projects which have a high element of hand-on involvement. He is competent and inventive, able to reverse engineer products, and adept at working out how something operates, with little guidance from adults.

The student has moderate to severe dyslexia which is marring his learning experience. He currently attends a school in Culver City, but while it has been able to deliver on the social front, it is not really proving adequate for his needs. His dyslexia, since it affects his reading, is serious and this is manifesting in other areas of school life; the school have mentioned the possibility of ADHD; it is more likely that the student is simply bored in his lessons and that’s what he clearly articulates when asked about the subject. He is a very bright and able student, and while he genuinely struggles with the written word, he is not being challenged enough by other classroom tasks. In arenas where he can learn from visual instructions or through exploration, he excels, and so it feels doubly unfair that he should be held back academically in this way.

Last year, the student underwent an intensive period of Lindamood-Bell coaching in an attempt to help him better manage his dyslexia. This approach was not as successful as originally hoped, and the student’s mother continues to exploring other avenues to help her son. He is very open to the idea of private tutoring – he is not particularly invested in staying at his current school from an academic perspective, but the social ties are strong and partial or complete removal from the school should ideally be compensated through other relevant peer interactions.

Aside from his dyslexia, the student is a normal little boy. He has normal executive function skills and although he doesn’t like mathematics (his dyslexia affects his access to word problems and he has struggled with short-term working memory issues), he is very good at oral mathematics. Indeed, his oral language skills and conversation are highly developed, he is very quick at picking up new concepts, and has a charming sense of humour and demeanour. For the right tutor, he will be an excellent student, and it will be a real joy for the educator to work with him on a wide range of subjects over the years.

Role of the Tutor

This position requires an energetic, enthusiastic and interesting teacher who has experience working with bright children of 10 and older. It is envisaged that the right Tutor will be someone with a background in sciences or engineering – or at least be able to demonstrate an on-going interest in mechanics and problem-solving. The home-school environment will not lack for resources, and a very practical education is likely to work well with the student’s learning style.

Given the student’s dyslexia, the Tutor will need to be familiar with management techniques which may help him to master the written word. The Tutor should be open to using a range of these techniques and incorporating them with specialist software and other tools that will provide him with the best grounding possible. The Tutor must be persistent with their efforts, but also be mindful of the boy’s individual learning needs and ensure that they do not dent his confidence in any way.

The family have yet to decide on a curriculum to follow if they eventually move to full time home-schooling, but it is likely to be based on the American school system and may incorporate set courses such as those offered by the NUVHS. Blends with other courses available from the UK curriculum might widen the boy’s more global nature. The aim is to give him a holistic education that, while tailored to his needs and interests, also prepares him well for adult life and any future study he may wish to undertake. The family’s plans are very flexible, and the boy needs to be kept on par with his peers should he ever decide to return to mainstream education. It is also important to ensure his social calendar is kept full and that he is able to socialise with his established friends as well as being given plenty of opportunity to make new ones.

The student’s mother travels extensively, and frequently between New York and California; the student is used to traveling with her. Having a private tutor will open up the possibilities of yet broader travel, and there is talk of following something akin to the Think Global School program whereby students spend periods of 6-7 weeks in different parts of the world, interspersed with periods at home. Since the boy is not committed to following any particular curriculum, the idea of travelling with such regularity is certainly appealing to his mother. The Tutor must therefore be organized, self-reliant, and independent. He will need to research each new location thoroughly to ensure that the student – and on occasion his mother – are able to get the most out of each destination.

Clearly the Tutor must be comfortable with this level of travel, and should be aware that the standard of their accommodation will vary as they move. Although it may be at times be relatively basic, it will always be clean, safe and functional. The Tutor must also be flexible in the sense that they can calmly handle any obstacles such as unreliable technology or difficulty finding resources. The limitations caused by travel and reduced access to standard teaching equipment is mitigated significantly by the Client’s preferred learning/teaching which aims to incorporate as much of their surroundings as possible into the lessons of the day, taking advantage of location to bring alive a history, geology or even mathematics lesson as appropriate, and inspiring and enthusing the student with the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. This should be enhanced by an investigative approach to curriculum content so that answers are not just given, but that the student can ‘discover’ by them through appropriate relevant activities. As far as possible the Tutor should teach their lessons in ways that have practical applications that allow the boy to explore each subject. The Tutor should be able to direct the student’s questions in a way that he is able to arrive at the answers himself, applying context to the learning experience where necessary.

Along the way, the student’s mother is keen to emphasise the importance of service to others as they travel. The Tutor should therefore seek opportunities for volunteering throughout the journey, and where possible, use these opportunities as the basis of their lesson planning. Litter picking on beaches, for example, would provide a good platform to study ocean currents, and the environmental impact of litter, or perhaps it could form the basis of a mathematics lesson by categorising the litter and subsequently presenting the data and trends. Making a shirt from scratch – sourcing raw materials such as cotton, wool, silk etc, spinning yarn, weaving or knitting fabric, dyeing and fixing the colours, and then sewing the pieces together – would offer tremendous potential for learning across several subjects. In addition to the obvious educational content it will be important for the Tutor to help the student to engage in sports and other outdoor activities such as hiking or trekking. It is also vital that the boy remain socially engaged while travelling – while social media is usually a good way to facilitate this, his dyslexia means that the Tutor will have to think of other ways in which he can build and maintain his burgeoning global network of friends.

The Tutor should be eloquent, able to explain concepts simply, and to inspire with his or her enthusiasm for any given subject. He or she should be a natural communicator with a kind and caring disposition, and a firm-but-fair approach to their work. The Tutor should have a good sense of adventure as well as a good sense of humour. They should be flexible enough in their lesson plans to allow tangential lines of enquiry to be followed, but structured enough to ensure that their lessons are not consistently hijacked. They must be able to balance excellent teaching with accurate record keeping, research and administrative skills. It is important that the Tutor remembers that while the manner in which learning takes place may be very fun and light hearted, the assignment has serious academic undertones that should not be overlooked.

The Tutor should be willing to try new things, and should be prepared to learn various new skills with the boy as well as from him directly. The right Tutor for this role will have a very positive attitude and will embrace the opportunities that this position affords. They are likely to get as much from their time tutoring the boy as he himself will get from the tutoring.

Hours and Holidays

The Tutor will typically work with the student for about 30-40 hours over 5 days each week, usually Monday-Friday, with preparation in addition. The timetable must be established with reference to the any extracurricular activities and travel arrangements, and be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected changes.

The Tutor is entitled to two consecutive days off per week, but should not expect these to occur at weekends or to be regular in their timing. As far as possible the Client will try to give the Tutor at least two weeks’ notice of when their ‘weekend’ break will be, but the Tutor will need to understand this is not always possible. The standard minimum 9 weeks (45 working days) of paid vacation allowance applies to this contract, with these breaks being taken at times convenient to the Client.

Any untaken vacation allowance or untaken weekend days that have accrued will be compensated by payment in lieu at a pro-rated day rate.

Accommodation, Travel, and Miscellaneous

The Tutor will be provided with furnished accommodation in all locations. The rent, utilities and Internet on this apartment will be arranged and paid for by the Client. The Client is not responsible for the Tutor’s personal phone bills.

When travelling, accommodation will vary, with some locations requiring the Tutor to live-in with the family in a rented house, and other locations where the Tutor will have their own hotel room. The Client will always be mindful that the Tutor is a professional and should have appropriate privacy as far as possible. There may also be occasions where the family stay on a boat, and in these cases the Tutor will most likely be given their own cabin.

While in America, a car will be provided for the Tutor to do local errands and shopping as well as taking the student to various extra-curricular activities. The Tutor will be reimbursed for all local public transport and any travels costs incurred while travelling with the family. The Client is not responsible for the costs of personal travel when the Tutor is taking paid vacation beyond the requirements regarding flights to the Tutor’s place of normal residence as set out in the Terms.

The successful candidate will be able to offer more than the minimum requirements of this position and must have been raised in a socially appropriate background. He or she will not only be an excellent educator, but also a good role model: educated and polished, with excellent manners and personal values.

The Tutor should be fit and healthy, a non-smoker.

Contractual details

Start:
September 2017
Duration:
One year, renewable annually
Hours:
40 hours per week
Salary:
$11,250 USD per month
Accommodation:
Provided
Car:
Provided in USA
Vacation:
45 days per annum

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