There are two students, aged 10, and 4. Both girls have been home-schooled by their mother, but there has been a recent change in the family’s circumstances and it is clear to all parties that this arrangement is no longer working well. The family are keen to maintain their quality of life and remain in their rural location, hence the need to appoint an education specialist.
The eldest is an avid reader. She is more than happy to lose herself in a book for hours at a time, and her general fluency and comprehension are broadly comparable with the norms expected of children of her age. Her maths skills however are lagging behind. She has been working through a series of school books aimed at her grade, but there has been little feedback on her performance and as a consequence, she has a shaky understanding of some of the key standards and concepts. She is aware that she has shortfalls in this area, and that is contributing to her sense of frustration with the subject. That said, she is a very bright child and wants to do well. When concepts are fully explained to her, she picks them up quickly and is able to apply them competently with a little practice. She will benefit from working with a patient Tutor who can help her establish stronger numerical foundations to bring these in line with her reading, and develop her scientific understanding and analytic skills.
She is a mature and capable young lady, who is remarkably self-sufficient, at ease in her rural homes, and is both helpful and kind. Both girls have been encouraged to try a range of experiences such as flower pressing. She would like to try leather tanning and learn other crafts. She has a keen interest in the development of underground railroads, is fascinated by the history and lives of American slaves and the tales of World War II survivors, especially those from Germany. She is learning the guitar and she also has an entrepreneurial spirit. Indeed, she wants to craft a range of products for sale at the local country fair next summer, which offers an excellent opportunity to develop financial literacy.
Like her sister, the younger girl is an intelligent and eager young lady, with the curiosity about the world typical of an adventurous and energetic four-year-old. She is quite far behind age-group expectations in terms of letter recognition, reading and in her understanding of both numbers and number bonds. There is clearly work to be done to get her up to speed and ensure that she is appropriately engaged.
The family have a number of houses, but predominantly in Florida and Maine, and have not yet established any of these as their main base, but is likely that either their woodland property in central Florida or their home in Sarasota will take on this role.
The family home in central Florida was badly damaged by Hurricane Irma, and they have been staying in a fairly basic temporary home their while repair works are undertaken. They are fortunate enough to have their maternal grandmother living close by – her house escaped the hurricane relatively unscathed. Despite the upheaval involved in home renovations, the two girls are clearly very happy and well-balanced individuals. Their mother is not keen on electronic devices such as iPads and TVs, but the girls don’t seem to miss them. They will likely have to increase their exposure to electronics as they go through schooling, but this should be done without detrimentally affecting their current balanced lifestyle.
The family are looking for an individual to take on two distinct roles. The first role is that of a Tutor. This role is expansive and far-reaching, covering a wide range of subjects and skills that extend from maths to music, and arts to languages. The appointed candidate will be well-educated, intelligent, well-travelled, responsible, practical, and down-to-earth. They will have a wide range of personal interests and a sense of fun and adventure that they can bring to the role.
The plan is for the girls to ultimately attend university, either in the US or the UK. However, at this point there has been no meaningful discussion about which pathway the family should follow. What is clear though is that any curriculum they do follow should keep all doors firmly open. It may be that at 14, the older girl opts to study the GCSE program with a view to attending an IB boarding school from 16 onwards. The alternative is that she begins some NUVHS guided courses following a US curriculum. However, the girls’ mother is keen that the Tutor does not simply rely on an online course for their teaching. The younger girl would do very well on the UK Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum or a US equivalent. Whatever pathway is selected, it will be essential for the Tutor to maintain meticulous, up-to- date records of achievement for both children across all their subjects.
While all concerned agree that full-time private tutoring offers the very best education, they are also aware that it can be relatively isolating if not sensitively and thoughtfully handled. It is imperative that the Tutor helps the children to develop and maintain social opportunities. For example, there are a number of other children living nearby who could be encouraged to join the girls in a book club, a mini- choir or dramatic society, or another sort of structured social setting. To this end, it would be helpful if the Tutor had the ability to read music, and had experience playing an instrument, be it guitar, woodwind, piano or another instrument.
The ideal Tutor will have themselves received a good education. They will speak a second language (preferably either French or Japanese) and will have the experience to design and deliver lessons that engage, inspire and enthuse the girls. Home schooling affords all sorts of opportunities to take the lessons outside the classroom, and it is envisaged that the Tutor will make the most of their environment to plan creative lessons. There is also the opportunity to deviate from traditional subjects and introduce lessons on topics as diverse as photography, astronomy, meteorology, geology and so on. It is anticipated that the Tutor will use project-based learning as their main means of delivering lessons. The Tutor should be prepared to bring their enthusiasm for every aspect of learning to this role and help to inspire in the girls a real sense of curiosity about their world, all the while giving them the tools to explore and analyse it themselves.
Given the amount of time that the children will receive individual tutoring each day, there should rarely be the need for homework. Homework should only be given if a particular skill needs to be practiced, or some background reading is needed. On no occasion should it be necessary to give homework that includes unnecessary repetition or busy work. While their mother subscribes to the view that exams should be the by-product of a good education rather than its driving force, it is still important for the children to develop good study habits including revision techniques, self-study, self-testing, and of course exam preparation.
This short-term role will provide the solid foundations for a long-term Tutor starting as soon as the ideal candidate is identified and is free to start. This means that the short-term Tutor will be required to undertake much of the set-up work – sourcing equipment and resources for the school room, instigating time tables and helping the girls get used to a more formal education than they have experienced to date. There will be a dedicated schoolroom in all locations; the Tutor will be responsible for ensuring that it is organised and properly stocked. The Tutor will also need to be responsible for packing and moving any teaching materials they wish to take between locations or use during any periods of travel. If the short-term Tutor is not continuing in the long-term position, part of their role will also be the creation of hand-over documents for the new Tutor in September 2018.
This tutoring role has enormous potential. Once the Tutor has successfully established a school environment for the two girls, there is talk that the home schooling element could be expanded to include more of the local children. Over the course of several years, it may be that the home school grows into more of a community education hub with several tutors working together to serve the needs of the local children as either a not-for-profit entity or philanthropic legacy. These plans are secondary to the education success of the girls, but the Tutor should be aware that the work they put in to this initial role will serve as the basis for future expansion plans, and so it is critical that they are able to devote their whole attention to this project in the short-term.
The second distinct aspect of this role is that of Personal Assistant / Project Manager for the family. In their current domestic situation, the girls’ mother has competing demands on her attention, and she is aware that she is not staying on top of everything. By capitalising on the Tutor’s organisational skills, it is hoped that she can improve her control of these matters. The key issue at the moment is the rebuilding project for the family home. The Tutor will need to be part PA and part Project Manager – she or he should be very efficient and organised, able to guide decision-making and keep track of any suppliers or contractors. They will need to have a head for detail and be able to balance competing demands on their attention. Given there is a construction project in the works, it would be helpful if the Tutor were familiar with American building systems, standards and regulations. At the very least, the Tutor will need to be able to very quickly learn how to work within the constraints of a variety of different industries, building key contacts and maintaining good working relationships as the months go by.
In more general terms, in their PA role the Tutor would be expected to help manage the family’s day-to- day matters such as finding activities for the children, building relationships within the local community, ensuring the kitchen is well stocked and the household tasks well managed and so on.
In both roles, the Tutor will need to be proactive, resourceful and creative. They must be a qualified teacher and hold a good degree from a well-regarded university. They should be prepared to integrate with the family and help out with little jobs around the place. The Tutor should be self-sufficient and prepared to live in a beautiful but relatively isolated and quiet community if the family choose to settle in the central Florida home (near Ocala).
The Tutor will typically work with the girls for about 30 hours over 5 days each week, usually Monday - Friday, with preparation in addition. The PA elements of this role are expected to take an additional 15 hours each week, resulting in a rough 1:2 division between PA and tutoring work. The Tutor should be aware that this is a flexible arrangement – some weeks there will be a heavier weighting to their role as a PA, some weeks they will be mainly tutoring.
With regards to the tutoring, a timetable must be established with reference to the any extracurricular activities and travel arrangements, and to be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected changes. This timetable should provide stability and routine for the students, but be adaptable enough to incorporate changes in the family’s plans, or any learning opportunities outside the classroom.
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.
The Tutor will be provided with furnished accommodation in all locations; in some of these locations this accommodation may be quite basic. The rent, utilities and Internet on this accommodation will be arranged and paid for by the Client. The Client is not responsible for the Tutor’s personal phone bills and data usage.
When travelling, accommodation will vary. In some locations, the Tutor might ‘live-in’ with the family, and other locations where the Tutor will have their own hotel room. The Client will always be mindful that the Tutor is a professional adult and should have appropriate privacy as far as possible.
If the Tutor does not already have one, a car will be provided for the Tutor to do local errands and shopping as well as taking the children to various extracurricular 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 and airport transfers 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 will need to 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.
Start: As soon as possible
Duration: Until 31 August 2019 initially, with annual renewal available
Hours: Approximately 45 hours per week
Salary: $11,250 USD per month
Vacation: Minimum 45 working days per year
As soon as possible