The 12-year-old boy is a very engaging, genuine and technologically-sophisticated young man. He has a huge variety of interests, mostly focused on the applications of science and technology. Indeed, he is the proud owner of a number of ‘boys toys’ including drones, a 3D printer, complex Lego kits, codable technology and a very impressive computer set-up. He understands that he is in a position of privilege, and is genuinely engaged with his tech. He is highly computer literate, very knowledgeable and very technically minded as long as he does not need to rely on the written word or do things that might be considered part of a standard school curriculum, such as math.
The boy’s challenge is his dyslexia. He displays a significant deficit in decoding when reading but has excellent comprehension when he is being read to. It is clearly access to the written word that causes him issues – and although he attends a specialist school to help him with his dyslexia, it is clear that the right approach has not yet been found. He has issues with blending sounds and has limited abilities when it comes to sounding out words. However, his comprehension with pictorial instructions and his ability to simply interpret pictures is impressive (he has built complex, adult-level models from Lego just following pictures) so it is strange that he has got to age 12 without anyone suggesting the Ron Davis approach to whole-word learning. Despite being a technophile, his mathematical abilities also leave something to be desired.
Regrettably, the boy has not had an easy relationship with schooling. His dyslexia is partly to blame for his struggles, but it is clear that he is simply not happy or comfortable in his current academic environment. He uses food as a way to cope with the ensuing anxiety and is making poor choices both in terms of the volume and type of food he consumes. As a consequence, his weight and overall fitness are of increasing concern.
He describes his favourite teacher as someone who took the time to show him various techniques for tying different knots. They were patient, kind and able to give him a confidence in his own abilities which had previously been lacking. His least favourite teachers are those who are rude, aggressive and thoughtless.
The girl is his half-sister, and she has just turned six. It would be difficult to find a more engaging, enthusiastic, friendly and happy young lady. In contrast to her brother, she loves school, though it is apparent that there are already areas which could be improved. She enjoys reading but is not exactly excelling – there are definite gaps in her ability to sound out words, and she has a charming if unhelpful disregard for the rules of punctuation. Her number bonds and general mathematics skills are also lagging (by comparison with her British peers), though there do not appear to be any underlying causes. She should improve quickly under the tuition of a kind, calm and attentive Tutor.
The boy’s need for a change in academic environment has meant that his parents’ plans to homeschool him have been brought forward. The Tutor must deliver the full range of subjects and have demonstrable experience with curriculum planning. At this stage it is not known if the student will continue along the US pathway or will instead switch to following the UK curriculum – or possibly follow a hybrid of both. The most important thing is to find the right Tutor who will be able to get the most out of him, and details of which curriculum can be finalized at that point.
The right Tutor in this case will be someone who has a broad range of interests which they can share with the family. They will have an enthusiasm and energy about them which is infectious – their love of learning and pursuit of knowledge for its own sake will be an example to both children, although the boy is the clear focus of this assignment. Both parents are erudite and engaged with education, so the Tutor must have a good understanding of pedagogy and academic theory. They should be willing to embrace new teaching theories and be agile enough in their thinking to try different approaches to their lessons if they can see that one mechanism isn’t working.
The Tutor should be familiar with the techniques employed to help dyslexic students master the written word and should have the flexibility and understanding to adapt their approach to find effective strategies. It is, however, not anticipated that the successful Tutor will be a specialist SEN teacher. The Tutor should look to take as many of their lessons away from the traditional classroom as is practical and should make full use of their local resources. Art galleries, museums and theatre trips are the obvious, but lessons in the local park, at sports facilities or even just discussions during a morning walk are equally valid. Likewise, project-based learning can be incorporated with more traditional classroom activities to create a course of study which is truly memorable.
Alongside helping the boy to tackle his reading issues, the Tutor should also provide him with strategies to help improve his confidence and independence. They should lay the groundwork for successful self-study skills and incorporate a holistic approach to his education which sees them incorporate topics such as nutrition, health and wellbeing either covertly or overtly into their lessons. Additional languages such as Latin (for its logical structure and pronunciation rules) or Mandarin, or another pictorial language would be welcomed.
This role requires a resourceful, intelligent and knowledgeable Tutor who is relaxed and easy-going with a sunny disposition on the one hand whilst also being firm, encouraging and sensible. They should be detail orientated and meticulous in their planning and record keeping, able to provide evidence of the work covered and to what level should future school or university applications require additional assurance that standards have been maintained.
The Tutor should have a global, forward-thinking outlook, and as much as possible should prepare the boy for the world in which he will be an adult. This could be done by a combination of embracing technology fully and equipping him with the resilience, determination and mental agility he will need for a world which could look quite different to the one which we are currently used to.
The Tutor should be eloquent, able to explain concepts simply and able to inspire with his or her enthusiasm for any given subject. He or she should have a wide knowledge base and a range of extra-curricular skills and interests that they can share with the family. The Tutor should be a natural communicator with a kind and caring disposition, and a firm-but-fair approach to their work. They should be authentic in their interactions with the family – open, honest and transparent in their motives. The family are warm, kind and caring and while they expect high standards from their staff, they appreciate that we are all fallible – a good dose of humility goes a long way. The Tutor should set a good example for both children through their behavior and conduct. It is important that the Tutor remembers that, although the family and working environment may be relaxed compared to formal schooling, it is essential to remain professional at all times and respectful of the family’s privacy.
The role itself will initially be based in the US, mostly Florida, but is likely to move between homes in Colorado and Texas too. In May 2020, the family plan to take a 6-month tour of Asia, which will likely include destinations such as China, India, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand. The travel may include periods at sea. The Tutor will travel with the family, teaching both children for the duration of the travels. They should research each destination thoroughly in order to make their best use of that location as a teaching resource. It should be noted that as the family travel, they may be joined by members of the extended family unit. The Tutor should be prepared to involve more people in their lessons should other children – or interested adults – be present. The Tutor should also be prepared to vary the pace and seriousness of their lessons in order to ensure a delineation between traditional term-time and summer holidays. While Tutoring may continue during some holiday periods (especially while the family are travelling between May and November 2020) it should be done in a lighter, less rigid way.
During this period of travel the Tutor should expect to stay with the children on average two evenings a week when the parents are out late. On these occasions the Tutor will be given accommodation, so they do not need to return home late at night, if they prefer. These evening hours will form part of the average 40 hours a week contact time. On about one weekend a month the Tutor will be with the children continuously from Friday to Monday in loco parentis. The Client will endeavor to give the Tutor as much advance notice of when these ‘long weekends’ will be, and will compensate the Tutor by giving them the next three consecutive days off, which will not be part of the standard nine weeks allowance as described below. Any untaken leave accrued over this travel period will be compensated by payment in lieu at the standard daily contract rate.
The Tutor will typically work on 5 days each week from Monday to Friday for an average of 40 hours with preparation time in addition. The Tutor will be entitled to at least nine weeks off per annum of the contract. During the six-month period of extended travel, these hours will be more variable and include an average of two evenings a week of what is best described as light nanny duties, plus four-day weekends in loco parentis about once a month on average.
The Tutor should follow a structured timetable as much as possible but should look to adjust this to fit with the children’s needs. It is essential that the Tutor collaborates with the Client in overall child management responsibilities.
As the boy enters his teenage years for example, his dopamine levels will mean his productivity is better in the evenings, and his tutoring hours should shift to reflect this.
The Tutor should make sure that they include some kind of physical activity each day, and should work around the the boy’s existing commitments to local sports teams etc. For example, he is a member of his local American football team in Houston, and it is important that he maintain this social connection.
The Tutor will be provided with a furnished apartment, suitable for a single person, near to the family home in all US locations. All rent, utilities, and Internet on the Tutor’s accommodation will be arranged and paid for by the Client.
When aboard a yacht, the Tutor will have his/her own berth.
The Client is not responsible for the Tutor’s personal phone bills.
During periods of travel, the Tutor may need to be housed in the family’s rented accommodation or a local hotel. The family are mindful of privacy and will try to provide the Tutor with as separate accommodation as the location allows. During periods of sea travel, the Tutor will be treated as a member of the family and will not be expected to take on additional crew duties.
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.
The Tutor will need to have permission to work in the USA. This is likely to mean that they will be a US national, or British, in which case Tutors International will be able to provide a visa.
Start: January 2020 at latest
Duration: One year
Hours: 40 per week
Salary: $180,000 USD per annum
Vacation: 45 days per annum
As soon as possible
To start as soon as possible
Mainly working with a 9 year old boy
Experience with dyslexia required