The main focus of this role is a 12-year-old boy with severe anxiety and a range of other co-related SEN/behavioural issues. His needs are far from the usual SEN students: he is a bright young man with good manners and a solid academic record. He is perhaps a little behind with his mathematics, but this is likely due to poor teaching, and it is thought that a private Tutor will help iron this out in no time. His English skills are also a little under developed and he has displayed ‘trigger word’ issues with comprehension. There is a history of dyslexia in the family and he perhaps displays some traits which are indicative of dyslexia, but he has not been formally assessed in this area and a Tutor trained in the Davis model for spelling mastery and management of trigger words should be able to see swift improvement.
The boy’s needs are not particularly bound up with academia, although he has had a rather mixed early education. Rather, it is his ingrained psychological issues which are holding him back and hindering his academic performance. He experienced a traumatic event at a young age, and this, combined with some school-related anxiety, has subsequently had repercussions throughout his life. He has developed relatively debilitating anxiety and a need to constantly check in with his mother or other caregiver/trusted adult. This need to ‘check in’ can be for simple things like losing sight of his mother while at home simply because she has gone to take the bins out. It has reached a point where it is no longer disrupting just his life, but the whole balance of the family.
Bound up with the traumatic event, he has also developed a sense of agoraphobia which impacts his life in a number of ways. For example, while he is afraid of using a lift due to the enclosed space, he is also afraid of situations which could cause him embarrassment such as answering a question incorrectly in class. This anxiety has also impacted his leisure time; he likes to go snorkelling, but doesn’t like scuba diving because of the depth of the water (though this isn’t a problem in a swimming pool); he likes to go swimming, but doesn’t enjoy sailing due to the fear that the boat may capsize and trap him underneath. He is currently more at home with sports on dry land – he plays tennis and enjoys competitive field hockey. He is a really lovely young man from a very warm and welcoming family, but he has a tendency to worry himself into corners and is reluctant to try anything new or take any risks, however small.
In some areas, the boy can be described as mature beyond his years, and he has an extraordinarily well-developed sense of perception with regard to the authenticity of adults. He can easily tell if someone is being genuinely attentive, or if they are just playing along and simply paying lip service to his ideas. He will quickly disengage from the latter. The boy’s favourite teacher reflects this; she is someone who is caring and considerate of her student’s needs, is sincere, actively listens to her pupils, and makes them feel safe. In contrast, his least favourite teacher is someone who seems to think that teaching is below her. She is formulaic in her lessons, disinterested and dismissive of her students and doesn’t seem to care about anyone in the class except herself.
The boy has started to show a growing interest in all things tech-related, and this provides a Tutor with the scope to help him master other subjects through his technology interests. For example, coding is a language that he could master without a high dependence on reading or writing, and programming a drone to fly a repeated route so as to document changes to the landscape would allow for screenplays to be developed without it becoming a chore.
The boy also has a younger sister, age 8, who has been diagnosed with dyslexia and is receiving remedial help at school. While she is far from the main focus of this role, it may be that the Tutor is required to spend a little time working with her each week to promote a sense of equality between the two siblings. She will continue to attend mainstream school so there will be plenty of time for the Tutor to work exclusively with the boy in the mornings and early afternoons.
This role calls for a broadly able, calm, and well-qualified educator who has experience working with children who have Special Educational Needs. The Tutor will need to have an extraordinarily patient disposition as they slowly and carefully build a trusting and nurturing relationship with the student before introducing tasks which require an increased level of self-sufficiency to complete. The Tutor must be able to deliver the full range of subjects, including Spanish to a high level, and should have an exceptional track record in preparing students through middle and high school.
The Tutor must be highly organised, resourceful and an excellent record keeper. The ultimate goal in this placement is to have the boy return to mainstream school in a strong position to succeed academically. The Tutor should therefore be able to provide evidence of the work covered and to what level, should future school applications require additional assurance that standards have been maintained. The Tutor will be responsible for planning a curriculum, setting a timetable, delivering lessons and assessing mastery. There will be the opportunity to blend subjects, using one to fill the deficit of the other (for example, a science lesson can incorporate mathematics) but it is important that the full curriculum is covered to a high level. Use of Project Based Learning (PBL) will be fine, as long as the Tutor plans their activities meticulously to ensure they cover wide swathes of the curriculum. It is anticipated that the Tutor and student will follow a standard routine of classes in the morning and early afternoon. With one-on-one tuition, there should be little to no need for homework unless there is something that he needs to practice.
Given the flexibility of home schooling, the Tutor should aim to incorporate as much of their surroundings as possible into the lessons of the day, taking advantage of their location to bring alive a history, science or mathematics lesson, blending subjects where appropriate to reduce repetition, and inspiring and enthusing the boy with the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. For such a small island, Bermuda has a surprising amount to offer, and the Tutor should take full advantage of sites such as the Botanical Gardens, the Crystal Caves, Dockyard and the aquarium as well as the beaches and parks that are freely available to enjoy. That said, there is a balance to be struck here as routine is very important for the student – the Tutor should not look to do too much too soon and should seek to ameliorate his anxiety rather than exacerbate it.
The Tutor must not only be an excellent educator, but also a good role model: educated and polished, with excellent manners and personal values. The Tutor should lead by example – they should have a sense of adventure and encourage the student to push his own boundaries, all the while respecting his limits. The Tutor must lay very firm academic foundations to help the boy on the pathway to academic success. He or she should introduce tricks and tips for effective study methods, as well revision strategies and stress management exercises which could help in the boy’s future life – both academic and professional.
Indeed, any experience with stress management and the management of conditions such as PTSD would be most advantageous. Familiarity with the Ron Davis approach to dyslexia would also be helpful.
Although not mandatory, it would be a bonus to find Tutors whose personal interests encompass art or sports that can be shared and enjoyed by the whole family to extend the role beyond just academics. The Tutor must be energetic, sporty (i.e. good at tennis and field hockey) and open-minded, as well as nurturing, understanding and encouraging. The right Tutor will be in a position to help the whole family and not just the student. The boy’s parents are keen to learn how they can better manage their son’s needs and are very open to any suggestion that the Tutor may have.
The ideal candidate will have a wide range of interests and must be able to inspire a love of learning in the student, as well as boosting his confidence and self-esteem.
The family also have a house in Spain, and so have requested that the Tutor spend some of their time with the parents and their daughter to boost their Spanish language skills. It may be that the Tutor is asked to accompany the family on their trips to Spain, in which case they should be prepared to teach their lessons in new surroundings.
The Tutor is expected to work with the boy (and other members of the family) for up to 40 hours per week, with preparation time in addition. The contact hours will likely follow a timetable which, while usually structured, allows for flexibility to accommodate any travel plans or scheduled excursions.
The Tutor is entitled to two consecutive days off per week which will usually be on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, the Tutor should expect to be flexible in this regard and the Client will try to give the Tutor at least a week’s notice of any variation to this. In turn, the Tutor must understand this notice will not always be possible.
The Tutor will be entitled to 45 working days paid vacation per annum in addition to statutory holidays. The 45 days off should be taken at times convenient to the Client. Untaken ‘weekends’, paid vacation, or statutory holiday that have accrued will also be compensated by a pro-rated payment in lieu at the end of the contract, or by extra annual leave.
In Bermuda, the Tutor will be provided with a two-bedroom furnished apartment or small house near the family home. This apartment will be ideal for a single person or a couple, but not for a family with children. Should a family wish to relocate for this role, they are welcome to find accommodation suitable for their needs and pay the difference between this and what the Client is offering. All rent, utilities, and Internet on the Tutor’s accommodation will be arranged and paid for by the Client save for the Tutor’s personal phone bill (if a family are involved then the Client will only be responsible for the proportion of the utility bills that relates to the Tutor). Accommodation will also be provided should the tutor be traveling with the Client.
The Tutor will have access to a car for use during tutoring hours, but due to Bermudian restrictions on cars, they cannot be provided with a car for personal use. In these instances, the Tutor will have a moped or scooter made available to them.
The Tutor must be fit and healthy, a non-smoker.
The Tutor needs to ensure that he or she has the requisite travel and health insurance, has received the required vaccinations, and has the necessary visas.
The family have a variety of pets and so Tutor should not be allergic to animals.
Start: 1 September 2019
Duration: One year to start, with the possibility of renewal
Hours: 40 hours per week
Salary: £135,000 GBP per annum
Car: Provided for tutoring purposes
Vacation: 45 days per annum
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In addition to school
Broad range of subjects