Meet the Tutor: Simon
This week I'm sharing the profile of one of our tutor team, Simon, who has been tutoring with us for more than a year now.
Simon is a great example of someone who has had several changes on his career journey and tried several different roles. Here we talk to him about his studies and employment so far, and his advice for students facing exams and career options right now.
What is your current role?
Full-stack programmer and former teacher of science
What did you study to get here?
PGCE, BSc, MSc all 1st class
Is this what you always wanted to do?
I enjoyed teaching but left my career to pursue my passion for programming
What kind of student were you at school?
How did you decide what to study?
By chance, I was very interested in the military when I was younger and wanted to become an Army officer. I had great fun traveling, trying lots of courses and different jobs. In my early twenties, I studied Ecology as a mature student and discovered the joy of science.
I never was a top of the class student, but in the right environment, I thrived and achieved my 1st class degree with school's honours.
Have you made any mistakes along the way to your current career?
I don't like the concept of a career. As a young adult with little life experience you are given weighty decisions to make for GCSE and A levels with no real idea of the realities of adult life. It is far more important to focus on enjoying learning, work hard at whatever you are doing and be the best you can be. If you apply yourself to any situation you will thrive and not all who wander are lost.
Did you have any setbacks in your career path?
Life is full of setbacks and family tragedy, but so long as you are adaptable you can make the most out of any situation.
I set out to become an RAF pilot, then a teacher, and now I build fantastic websites which gives me so much freedom to pursue my passions.
The best lessons are our biggest mistakes.
What are your top three tips for GCSE students?
Learn about instant gratification monkey on YouTube and recognise when you are procrastinating.
Start revision early, and ask for help to develop a revision style that works for you.
Do not copy large blocks of text: minimise, make use of images, and link them to memorable things. The funnier the memory the easier it is to remember. You will forget 90% of what we teach you, but you will always remember when a teacher did something funny, link a revision point to that story.
Finally, the biggest secret is that GCSE results don't define you. They are a number that will mean very little to you as a working adult. So jump off the hype train, instead focus on doing your very best and working your hardest. Accept year 11 is a stressful year but fear, anxiety, and stress will not improve your grades. A reflective approach and plenty of exam practice definitely will.