Updated: Aug 5
Our Company Manager, Leticia, reviews one of the key annual events in the tutoring industry.
On October 16th, The Tutors’ Association (TTA) held their third National Conference, and I jumped at the chance to go with our Founding Director, Joe Hytner, as I knew there would be lots of things to take away (not just the freebies).
We were greeted with snacks and warm drinks at the morning reception, but more interestingly, we had the opportunity to chat with various representatives from other educational companies, including one from Schofield & Sims, who told us an interesting anecdote about his own personal connection with the Sims family, and kindly gave us a complimentary text book which I’m looking forward to using with my 11+ students!
The auditorium buzzed with anticipation of the opening speech from Chris Lenton, the TTA's Chief Executive & Secretary. His humorous yet relaxed address made us all feel welcome — tutors and spectators alike — and this stood out for me especially as a first timer. Chris was followed by Adam Muckle, the President of The Tutors’ Association, who told us what to expect for the day and introduced a few of the guest speakers. By this point I was raring to go!
With a number of different talks and workshops to choose from, usually running simultaneously, Joe and I decided that the best way to maximise the amount of information we could get that day would be to split up. Have you ever wished you could be in two places at once? Well, this was one of those days, as it was difficult to decide which talks to forfeit, but eventually I landed on a few great choices.
First was a talk titled ‘Supporting Students with International University Applications’. I must admit, before this talk started, I wondered how difficult or even different it could possibly be to put in a university application abroad. Surely, you’d just need to tap a few words into a Google search and voilà? Nope. David Hawkins, an independent advisor to parents and students looking at international universities, talked us through the different types of universities around the world, each requiring different types of applications! Notably, some universities are much less concerned about grades and more interested in the extra-curricular activities a student does — just imagine not getting into university because you’re too focused on your school work, and don’t do anything else in your spare time!
Keeping the theme international, I went on to listen to Lucinda Williams’ thoughts on residential tuition. She opened our eyes to the wealth of opportunity out there for residential teaching. So many busy parents are looking for the right person to tutor their children while on their vacations or long-stay business trips. Needless to say, this is an amazing way to see the world while doing what you love!
During the break, after the tasty lunch provided, I had a chance to walk through the gardens at The Barbican where the conference was held this year, and took in the beautiful plants, the surrounding water and the generally peaceful atmosphere. It was no wonder that the TTA decided to stick to the same venue as last year.
Next was a talk about working with academically able secondary aged learners with a specific learning difference. I listened intently as Kevin Smith (PATOSS CPD Coordinator and Teacher Study Skills at Westminster School) put into perspective how many students would consider themselves as having a SpLD. What stood out to me was the provisions available for students with SpLD or the lack thereof. We discovered that a misconception seemed to be that there was an unmanageable connection between the number of specialists out there and the support available for students with a SpLD. However, Kevin drove home the possibility and importance of teachers and tutors adopting different teaching techniques, proven to work with students who need extra support, even without having received special training. This was encouraging for me, and I look forward to trying some of the techniques he outlined with my own students, as I feel they could be helpful with both students with and without SpLD.
The penultimate event of the day was a talk with a woman who had studied for a university degree while incarcerated. The speaker discussed her arduous 6-year journey completing her bachelor’s degree. This, in addition to her not being able to continue beyond this level, really highlighted the fact that non-compulsory education is a privilege and encouraged me to think about how valuable it is. Importantly, I admired the speaker’s dedication, and wondered how many of my students would fight for their education as she had done. Would I?
I didn’t expect to have as much to think about as I did after The Tutors’ Association conference, but having attended, I’m pleased to have taken away a goody bag filled with textbooks and notepads and a mind full of fresh ideas and viewpoints to mull over and perhaps tweak to suit my own tutoring. I look forward to seeing what the next conference has to offer, and urge you to consider attending too!
Following the conference, The Tutors' Association kindly invited us to write a guest blog post for them. Check out Top Tips for Starting a Private Tuition Agency, written by our Founder and CEO.
Blog Post Crafted by Leticia
Leticia runs our Admin Team, supporting tutors, clients and applicants. She loves singing and will almost always be seen making a beeline for the microphone at any karaoke night!
Leticia manages the staff on our Admin Team, and often liaises with tutors, clients and applicants. She is also responsible for processing the ID, Qualifications, DBS Check and References for all our newly joining tutors.