Uruguay (URU-0617)

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An able and experienced educator is required for a long-term assignment starting September 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter. The role involves tutoring/mentoring one boy, aged 8, in a primarily after school capacity. The family are based near Punta del Este in Uruguay but have homes in New York, Maine, and various other locations which they travel to frequently. The role will suit an energetic, inspiring and knowledgeable Tutor with a passion for football (soccer), and a love of history.

The Tutor/Mentor must have Spanish to a good level.


The student hails from a warm and supportive family. He is the youngest of four children; the older three are grown up and so he is in many ways living as an only child. His parents spend time with him reading aloud – they all love to read – and engage him in conversations across a range of topics. They are kind and friendly people with a wide range of interests and an open, welcoming nature. As a result, the student is a bright and engaging child with a mischievous sense of humour and wit. He is intelligent, motivated and keen to learn. He has a passion for medieval history and his inquisitive nature led the family to, briefly, entertain the idea of building their own working trebuchet in the garden (it was only the prospect that the device had the capacity to catapult younger cousins some distance into a nearby lake that caused the project to be shelved for the time being!)

Like any normal 8-year-old, the student enjoys sport. He plays rugby and is fanatical about football. He is gregarious, funny, bright and interested in the world around him. He enjoys dabbling with mechanics and engineering projects, and enjoys playing with toys such as Lego. Though he doesn’t have any Fischer Technic yet himself, he is very interested in what the system can offer.

The student currently attends a school in Punta del Este. This school follows the British education model, and it seems to suit the student’s learning style. He has settled well at this school and is managing to achieve very good grades without having to put in too much effort. This is not because the boy is highly able and not being stretched, but rather because the school is not yet operating at the high standards that it aspires to. The lack of academic pressure has undoubtedly increased the family’s quality of life, but they are aware that the student’s ‘coasting’ may cause problems further down the line should they wish to return to New York on a full-time basis, or indeed affect his final grades should they remain in Uruguay.

Although the student is performing well at school, there are certain areas where he could undoubtedly improve. There are no SEN issues, but his spelling and handwriting need attention, and his mental arithmetic is relatively weak. He was initially very resistant to the idea of private tuition – he imagined being trapped behind a desk every afternoon learning things by rote, and even heard the word ‘Tutor’ as someone that would be adding to his school day in a formal manner and being remedial in nature. Once he understood that private tutoring can be enormous fun and that time spent with a Tutor/Mentor figure can be more like a learning adventure, full of project-based learning, his attitude soon changed and he is now open to the prospect of working with such an individual. Indeed, for the right person, life tutoring/mentoring the boy will be very rewarding. He will be a delight to teach and to spend time with, and both student and Tutor will likely learn a great deal from one another.

Role of the Tutor

The student’s parents are well versed in education theory, and are familiar with a range of education systems which include project based learning, Think Global School, world learning and both the British and American curricula. They have three older daughters who are just finishing their studies at top US universities, but who, having followed traditional education routes, still seem to be undertaking their studies with a passion for achievement but struggle with self-definition. They would like to try a different approach with their youngest child and are keen to find a Tutor/Mentor who can help them ignite a love of learning for its own sake.

The family are not interested in hot-housing the boy academically. Rather, they are looking for a Tutor/Mentor who can extend his interests outside of the classroom, broadening his horizons and helping to ensure that his academic foundations are solid. While in Uruguay, the student will continue to attend his day school, and the Tutor/Mentor’s role will be one of extension and exploration. It is anticipated that they will engage in a range of project-based learning experiences, often using their environment as the basis for these lessons. Formal tuition in the form of desk-based learning is discouraged – the Tutor/Mentor should use their skills and imagination to bring alive projects in such a way that the student does not realise he is learning. It is likely that some of the Tutor’s time during the day will include periods either supporting the student in the classroom in a Teaching Assistant style role, alongside his main teacher, or occasions where the Tutor takes him out of his classroom for personal tuition during classes where he is more advanced than his peers and therefore not really progressing.

That said, the Tutor/Mentor should keep an eye on the student’s academic performance and tailor their time with him to ensure that any weak areas are sufficiently shored up. His spelling for example could be significantly improved, and his maths skills could also be strengthened. Both of these areas can easily be taught through games and challenges incorporated into any given project.

It is likely that the family will spend the Northern summer in the US, and so while away from Uruguay, the Tutor/Mentor’s role will probably be one of more formal tuition. They will likely work in conjunction with the student’s school to ensure that he is kept on track with his peers. However, as with his learning in Uruguay, the lessons should not be based solely in the classroom, and the Tutor/Mentor is encouraged to take advantage of their surroundings to ensure the student gets the most out of his location. In New York this could include trips to the theatre, to art galleries and exhibitions; in Maine or other areas, the local geology and history could form part of any given project.

Given the primary location of the role, the Tutor/Mentor will need to have a good sense of adventure and a can-do attitude. They will need to be either fluent in Spanish or have it to a very good level. 50% of the student’s school education is delivered in Spanish, and not only will he need to be stretched in this language, but it is possible that his mother may also want the Tutor/Mentor to help her improve her own language skills. Additionally, very few of the local population understand English, so from an administrative perspective as well as day-to-day living, Spanish is vital. Punta del Este is a fairly remote town with a population that fluctuates seasonally between 30,000 and 500,000 – it can feel very quiet and isolated in the low season. The family live about 35 km away from Punta del Este on an organic farm near a village called Jose Ignacio. The area is stunningly beautiful, but the terrain is challenging and the Tutor/Mentor would need to be comfortable driving a 4x4 during the winter when the roads can be very muddy.

Quality of life is of the utmost importance to the family, and they are looking for the right Tutor/Mentor to fit with their lifestyle as a family, not just with their son’s education needs. The Tutor/Mentor should be prepared to get involved with the family in various projects where appropriate, and they should be happy to join the family for meals and conversations. The family run organic co-operative farms in Uruguay and Long Island. In Uruguay, harvest is a very important social event on the calendar where they are joined by up to 30 people all working on the farm. These individuals are not simply labourers, but friends and associates of the family who socialise with them during harvest, swapping stories and catching up on news. While the Tutor/Mentor is not expected to do any of the farm work themselves (unless they choose to), they should be prepared to help out on such occasions, socialising with the workers and assisting where required by the family.

Given that they will inevitably spend time on the farms, it would be useful if the Tutor/Mentor is comfortable around animals. The family have several horses, and the boy himself seems to have a certain knack with the farm chickens. While not required, it would be helpful if the Tutor/Mentor could share his enthusiasm for the birds, helping to collect eggs and care for the chickens.

This position requires an energetic, enthusiastic and interesting teacher who has experience working with bright children of primary age and beyond. The Tutor/Mentor will be able to develop an educationally rich program of study which allows for project based learning, aiming to deliver an education that is very broad without increasing the depth of subject knowledge too far beyond what is age appropriate. This balance can be achieved by extending the number of subjects covered to include things like photography, astronomy and the classics, as well as giving the boy a solid basis in subjects such as music and art alongside crafts such as cooking, knots and first aid. He is interested in finding out how things work, so a Tutor/Mentor who has a background in engineering will find themselves at an advantage.

The Tutor/Mentor must be organized, self-reliant, and independent. They should be eloquent, able to explain concepts simply, and to inspire with their 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.

Hours and Holidays

The Tutor/Mentor will typically work with the student for an average of 35 hours a week. This average is measured across the calendar year and the weighting of these hours will shift depending on the location of the family at any given time. Preparation time will be in addition. The timetable must be established with reference to the student’s extracurricular activities and any travel planned by the family, but it should also be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected changes.

The Tutor/Mentor 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/Mentor 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

While in Uruguay, the Tutor/Mentor will be provided with a furnished apartment that will likely be located between the family farm and the boy’s school, roughly 20 minutes’ drive from either. 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/Mentor’s personal phone bills.

When travelling, accommodation will vary, with some locations requiring the Tutor/Mentor to live-in with the family in a rented house, and other locations where the Tutor/Mentor will have their own hotel room. The Client will always be mindful that the Tutor/Mentor is a professional and should have appropriate privacy as far as possible.

A car will be made available for the Tutor/Mentor when in Uruguay. In all other locations, the Tutor/Mentor will be reimbursed for all local public transport and any travels costs incurred while travelling with the family, or be given the use of a car if need be (such as in Maine). The Client is not responsible for the costs of personal travel when the Tutor/Mentor is taking paid vacation beyond the requirements regarding flights to the Tutor/Mentor’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/Mentor will be physically fit and healthy, a non-smoker.

Contractual details

Start: September 2017

Duration: At least one year

Hours: 35 per week

Salary: $11,250 USD per month

Accommodation: Provided

Car: Provided

Vacation: 45 days per annum

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