This month, we talk to Steve about Physics tutoring, IB exam tips, his hobbies, and the day he caused his entire school to be evacuated…
“What is a day in the life of a TutorsPlus tutor?”
The short answer is, there’s no typical day. Some students have a busy schedule and fitting in with this means that my days might start early with a 7 am tutorial before breakfast. There’s always a bit of preparation to do so that tutorials are well planned but when I’ve completed that I have some time that I can call my own. Today the sun is shining and, as soon as I’ve written this, I’ll jump on my bicycle and ride for a couple of hours to a cafe for cake and coffee.
Tutoring students tends to happen mostly in the evenings so it’s then that I find myself online in my office teaching through nuclear decay or planetary motion. Physics is something that I’ve always loved and passing that inspiration on to others is thoroughly enjoyable.
“What is the most common challenge you see your students face?”
I often meet students who say “I understand this, but I can’t actually answer the questions!” The solution to this is often unpicking exam questions carefully together to ensure that the student has a complete understanding of the material. The next part is then ensuring that practice covers all the aspects of the course.
Everybody knows that you have to work hard to succeed. But working hard without understanding is desperately frustrating and time-wasting. Through IB tutoring I see students gain a clear understanding of the subject material and then I really enjoy seeing them flying to build further understanding and confidence.
“What would we find you doing when not IB Physics tutoring?”
Outside of tutoring I love to cycle and I clocked up over 10,000km last year. I’m also crazy enough to go wild camping even when it’s snowing. I have a daughter and two sons of my own so I understand the family dynamics that go along with preparing for exams, though at 25, 23 and 21, mine have now moved on from school (phew!). I also enjoy playing guitar which often seems to go hand-in-hand with physics: I’m told that Einstein was pretty good on the violin!
“What is your most memorable teaching moment?”
I’m still trying to forget the day when my class demonstration of the thermite reaction set off the sprinklers leading to the evacuation of the entire school! There have been so many memorable moments, but I’m most proud of my year 13 Physics class from the year we just passed. I shared the teaching with a teacher who was once my student (!) and the class achieved the best set of Physics that my school has ever seen. We had a great celebration on results day.
Steve is a TutorsPlus IB Physics tutor a, IB revision course teacher and with over 20 years teaching experience has been an Assistant Principal and Head of Science.