Florida (FLO 1218)

An able and experienced educator is required for a long-term assignment starting as soon as the ideal candidate has been identified. The initial term will be 12 months minimum, and may be extended annually, for several years, if all parties agree. The role involves tutoring two girls (11 and 5), together with some elements of PA-type work. It will suit an energetic, inspiring, child-friendly and knowledgeable educator with a practical, grounded outlook and a proactive approach to problem-solving, and someone comfortable with people from all social strata, someone who is in touch with nature and at ease in isolated locations.

The family have a number of homes and have recently settled in Florida to be near their maternal grandfather. They also maintain homes in central Florida and Maine. Life in each location has a very different feel and covers a wide range of circumstances from the highly affluent to the very basic. The Client’s best friends come from all walks of life and the girls have been raised to see richness not as measure of what can be attained or acquired materially but through neighbourliness, solidarity, hospitality and fellowship. The Tutor will need to as comfortable staying in a luxurious spa hotel as they are in a basic cabin away from major conurbations. Travel, volunteering, and a willingness to ‘muck in’, sometimes with underprivileged families, is a component of this role. For this family, the warmth of friendships, kindnesses and seeing the good in others is at its strongest in among their least affluent friends and this balance is at the core of what kind of family they are. The Tutor should be someone who only adds to this glow as part of their natural disposition.

Students

There are two students, aged 11 and 5. Both girls were home-schooled by their mother until about a year ago, and by Tutors International since then. The family are keen to maintain their quality of life and to continue to live in rural locations, using their environments as their classrooms. They wish to do this without it being at the expense of a broad and well-rounded education that opens the doors to a University education.

The older girl 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 and she has developed a certain kind of fear of attempting the things that she expects to find hard. 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, so, 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. The older girl 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. Indeed, she has a general interest in northern Europe in general. She is learning the guitar and she also has an entrepreneurial spirit. For example, 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 daughter is an intelligent and eager girl, with the curiosity about the world typical of an adventurous and energetic five-year-old. She is quite far behind some common Western age-group expectations in terms of letter recognition, reading and in her understanding of both numbers and number bonds, but more advanced emotionally than many children her age. There is clearly plenty of work to be done to ensure that she is appropriately engaged. She learns best through imitation, she likes to be able to do the things she sees others doing. It is essential, therefore, that the Tutor models through their own behaviour and actions the kind of qualities that are wanted by the girls. Dour, uninterested and disorganised people do not suit this role (arguably they do suit any teaching role at all), but it is not enough to be able to behave as described – the Tutor must be the right kind of person.

Their mother is very much against electronic devices such as iPads and TVs, but the girls don’t seem to miss them and indeed many parents who are forever fighting the ‘screen time’ battle would be envious! The girls 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 and should be as limited as possible.

Role of the Tutor

The family are looking for an individual to take on two distinct roles, with by far the main responsibility being educational, and the other being to help the girls’ mother organisationally and logistically.

The educational part of 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. She or he will have a natural affinity for engaging children at elementary and middle school ages. She or he will have a wide range of personal interests, a sunny and upbeat disposition, and a sense of fun and adventure.

The Client is not trying to simply build a school at their home – what is wanted is manifestly, outwardly, and evidently different. This is home-schooling, but that does not just mean replication of what schools do but in a home setting. Rather, this job is about utilising the immediate environment and integrating this into opportunities for learning, integrating subjects taught into schools into these opportunities and interweaving them into each other to form a rich tapestry. Involving the girls’ mother, and other adults, is expected too. For example, the girls once caught starfish, put them in a bath with sea water they collected and sold viewing tickets to friends. This was not planned, but was a response to their environment, required effort and hard work in refreshing the bath water, and the entrepreneurship to make and be able to sell the tickets.

The Tutor will need to be similarly resourceful, able to see opportunities when they occur and able to engender inquisition and exploration through these opportunities; learning that involves just desks and textbooks should be rare, if at all! It is imperative that the Tutor has experience of working alone and being self-resourcing, able to see issues coming and either incorporate them or work around them.

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, they opt to study the GCSE program with a view to attending an IB boarding school from 16 onwards. The alternative is to begin 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, the IB PYP, or a US equivalent, as a reference point for the Tutor to monitor and maintain records of progress, but not as fixed pathway. It will be essential for the Tutor to maintain meticulous, up-to-date records of achievement for both children across all their subjects and for these to be accessible at all time to the Client and Tutors International through file-sharing on DropBox.

Although broadly following the standards of a UK or US curriculum, the Tutor should be delivering project-based learning, without feeling constrained by the content or grade expectations of either curriculum. 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.

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. Part of the role must therefore to be to ensure the children develop and maintain social opportunities. For example, any children living nearby 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.

The ideal Tutor will have themselves received a good education. They will speak a second language (French or Japanese ideally, but other languages are fine especially those from northern Europe) 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 without the need to deliver these as traditional schools might delineate subjects, and will introduce lessons on topics as diverse as photography, astronomy, meteorology, geology and so on.

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 success in 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.

There will be a dedicated learning space in all locations; the Tutor will be responsible for ensuring that it remains organised and properly supplied. 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.

The second distinct aspect of this role is that of personal assistant. 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 PA part of the role is more of a mother’s help than an executive assistant, but for the right Tutor there is scope for this part of the job to enlarge. At first, though, the PA role is limited to being expected to help manage the family’s day-to-day matters such as finding activities for the children, building relationships within the local community, helping with grocery shopping, researching where certain services may be obtained etc.

Hours and holidays

The Tutor should expect to be working with one or other or both girls for about 8 hours of contact time a day, usually Monday-Friday, with preparation in addition. The PA elements of this role are to be fitted around the edges, in interstitial moments or evenings. 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.

Accommodation, Travel, and Miscellaneous

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 them 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. Although no concrete plans are in place at present, the Client is looking to travel outside the US more, and has cited Botswana and northern Europe as places high on the agenda.

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. This role is only suited to a single applicant.

If the candidate had experience with newspapers or better still NPR, that would be ideal.

Candidates are encouraged to watch ‘Summer with the Fam’ which can be found here to understand fully the warm learning environment that this role demands.

Contractual details

Start: As soon as possible

Duration: 12 months initially, with annual renewals possible

Hours: 40 hours contact time per week, with preparation and PA work in addition

Salary: $11,250 USD per month

Accommodation: Provided

Car: Provided for work purposes

Vacation: 45 days per year



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