Since my first year in London, I have always wanted to work part time while studying. Even though my parents are able to support me through my studies here, I still desire to lessen their burden in any way I can due to the high international student fees. That notion slowly slipped my mind during first year as I started getting overwhelmed with projects and deadlines. However, after my exams during summer, a few friends and I were talking together and the topic of tutoring just popped up. From there, we managed to find a UK based website called Tutorful. This platform allows mentors to be connected with mentees based on subject and level preference. With exams over and nothing on our schedules, we decided to give it a try!
The First Experience
I got my first tutee within a week! I remember how nervewrecking it was before arriving at my tutee’s house for the first lesson. Even though I was teaching GCSE content, I was afraid that not touching it for so many years would result in me being rusty with the entire syllabus. I spent a whole day revising through the chapters, making sure I was comfortable with every single topic.
The first class worked out pretty smoothly, and it was honestly an experience which I was not used to. It felt amazing being able to not just share my knowledge on the syllabus with my tutee, but to also give my personal thoughts and feedback on certain things I found engaging. She was quite an outspoken student as well, and did not hesitate to ask questions and raise her own feedback. Following that class, I ended up having around four to five more classes with her before heading back to Malaysia for the summer.
I realized that even in that short span of time, I got to understand my tutee a lot more and I learned to cater to her speed in learning new materials and also work out a tutoring style which was most efficient for the both of us
This was when I decided to give tutoring a try around my neighbourhood in Malaysia. I decided to make a post in my community Facebook group, and surprisingly a few people did contact me! Throughout my summer, I tutored four different students in different subjects such as Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Having spent three months with all my tutees, I managed to form deep bonds with all of them. Our lessons weren’t strictly just about doing exercises or learning content. I learned to adapt myself to what my students were going through and change my tutoring methods from there. They were curious about my studies as well and I happily answered all their questions about University life and also application processes.
Coming back to London, I got a text from one of my tutees one random afternoon. Her GCSE results had been released and she was sharing the good news with me! I was thrilled with her success and it gave me a large sense of accomplishment knowing that my efforts meant something huge at the end of the day.
Years 2 & 3
I decided to become an Imperial Outreach STEM Ambassador. Through this platform, I managed to sign up for various types of activities such as tutoring students who needed help during the pandemic, sharing sessions about life in university and my course and also hosting masterclasses for students about to embark on their A-Levels journey.
I now enjoy tutoring as I don’t just see it as a means to earn money. I gained confidence in myself as well and learned how to put myself in my students’ shoes, and be versatile with the different students which I met. It is also always a joy to hear thoughts from these students perspectives, as there is always a thing or two to learn from every single person. Being able to support these students not just through their academics, but also through life as well and help guide them in ways I could never even imagine is an experience that can never be traded.