Our TutorsPlus IB Biology and IGCSE Science expert, Wendy, tells us about her fascinating life in Costa Rica and shares some valuable advice on time management and handling stress
What is a day in the life of a TP tutor?
As well as the online tutoring I offer, I am finishing a thesis project in Biodiversity and Wildlife for my second master’s degree in the cloud forests of Costa Rica. So after I finish tutoring in the morning (remember I’m 7 hours behind Switzerland!) I spend time doing my own research and lots of reading before I start writing up my dissertation. It’s quite like an IB IA, except a LOT longer!
What is the most common challenge you see your students face?
Time management! As students get older, they gain more and more responsibility through school work, extracurriculars, athletics, family, and the ever-important college applications. Things can start to fall through the cracks when young adults don’t learn how to properly manage their time. When you start to become overwhelmed with your to-do list, stress kicks in, and your brain just can’t focus anymore. I always encourage my students to keep a planner to organize their life.
What would we find you doing when not tutoring?
You would probably find me in the forest! I’m doing fieldwork in Costa Rica studying the impacts of domestic animals on native wildlife. I’m viewing wildlife through camera traps so I hike in the forest several times a week to check my cameras then view all the data back at home on my computer. When I’m not doing that, it’s all about doing more research for my dissertation and finally, baking some goodies in the kitchen!
What is your most memorable teaching moment?
I was teaching chemistry to KS3 in Prague at the end of the school year. We had covered everything in the curriculum and exams were over so I thought it would be fun to do some labs that covered some of the material for the next academic year. I had the students do the ‘flame test’: dipping a metal rod into different liquid solutions of metals and then holding it in the flame of a Bunsen burner. Different metals will give off different colours due to the electron configuration. To see the amazement on the students’ faces as they saw a normal, ‘boring’ liquid solution change to bright purple or red or orange or blue was really awesome and still has me smiling, thinking about it today.
Wendy has a Masters degree in Education and is studying for another in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health from the University of Edinburgh. She has been teaching in International schools for 13 years and specialises in Biology IB SL and HL, Environmental Science, Chemistry IGCSE and all sciences up to High School.
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