The student is a 12-year-old girl. She is diligent and capable, and an accomplished dressage and hunter-jumper rider. Although she has been able to perform well academically at school, it has played a large part in developing a sense of anxiety within the girl which she is struggling to overcome.
The girl’s anxiety does not permeate all aspects of her life. She is determined and focused with her riding, and aware that, at her level, she cannot hope to achieve a perfect score in dressage competitions – indeed, the higher the competition stakes the more in control she seems to become. Yet she has developed a need for perfection at school, and reports feeling embarrassed and nervous when the class teachers call on her for an answer. She is loath to appear foolish , and her efforts to avoid this are leading her on a destructive pathway. She is increasingly reluctant to try new things unless she can guarantee to get it right first time, and this pressure, along with the social pressure she feels from school are starting to bleed into other areas of her life.
Partly as a result of this classroom anxiety, and partly because her involvement on the competition circuit, she and her family are looking to home-school for the remainder of her education.
The girl comes from a warm, supportive family who are keen for her to succeed academically and in her equestrian life. She has aspirations of reaching Olympic level, and with the right support she may well achieve this. The family are animal lovers and have horses, three dogs (two of which are large but very gentle) and a range of other pets. Their main residence is in a gated estate on the edge of Phoenix – there is excellent access to the wilderness and wildlife but also dangerous animals such as hawks and coyotes.
The girl describes her favourite teachers as those who are able to show her how to complete a task correctly, rather than just describing it. She appreciates strictness in her teachers, as long as it is mixed with warm wit, humour, kindness and a sense of the teacher and student working as a team. She dislikes teachers who, when students struggle, simply repeat their instructions without modifying them, or teachers who pick on individuals to show them up or make them feel bad about their deficiencies.
Role of the Tutor
This full-time home-schooling role will work around the girl’s training and competitions. It is unknown which curriculum she will follow, but it is likely to have elements of both the American and British pathways. The ideal Tutor for this position will have significant experience in teaching GCSE core subjects, knowledge of the grade levels in the US, and an understanding of the home-schooling requirements of the State of Arizona.
The Tutor must be able to deliver the full range of subjects, including sciences and mathematics, to at least age 16. They must also be able to teach a language – preferably Spanish. The Tutor should be able to read music and play an instrument. The girl started flute and piano and would like to improve her skills on the flute. Her father is also keen to learn a musical instrument, so may take lessons with his daughter. The girl’s grandmother has expressed an interest in learning algebra, so this is another area where the Tutor should be prepared to teach two people at once.
In teaching a young sportswoman, a certain degree of flexibility is required from her Tutor, who may find themselves teaching at odd hours of the day – either en route to or from competitions, during down-time while at competitions or simply fitting their lessons around the rhythms of the local stable. Where possible, the Tutor should devise and follow a sensible timetable allowing the incorporation of all core subjects, as well as physical education, fitness and nutrition. The Tutor’s should include a daily fitness activity such as hiking, biking, yoga, etc.
The successful candidate will be upbeat and full of energy. This role requires a resourceful, intelligent and knowledgeable tutor who is relaxed and easy-going on the one hand but also firm, encouraging and sensible on the other. They should be an excellent communicator and record-keeper, able to spot areas of weakness and address them before serious problems develop. It would be advantageous if the Tutor were a sportsperson and were familiar with the physical and mental demands that come with competing at the top level. They should be prepared to support the girl outside academia by teaching her mechanisms to cope with stress, anxiety and pressure both inside the arena and in her personal life. The Tutor should should have a range of interests they can share with the family, and their natural curiosity of the world around them should be infectious.
The Tutor must carefully plan the curriculum and keep detailed records of content covered. Blended lessons, mixing topics into different subjects to minimise repetition, and project-based learning, should be used where appropriate, and the Tutor should aim to take advantage of what each location has to offer to bring alive science, history, English or art lessons. The Tutor should be able to deliver both the UK and US curricula in tandem, keeping all doors open for higher education pathways on either side of the Atlantic.
The Tutor should be compliant with Arizona’s home schooling laws at all stages, and should implement a robust system so mastery of each subject can be tracked, and evidence provided. The Tutor must ensure that the girl’s parents fulfil the reporting requirements of Arizona’s Education Board.
The family travel extensively and the Tutor should be prepared to move with them, delivering lessons in a range of settings.
During certain parts of the year, when the tutoring requirement is lighter, the Tutor will be required to assist the girl’s mother with the family’s charity events or other functions the family may be engaged with.
Hours and Holidays
The Tutor should expect an average 35 contact hours over 5 days each week, with prep time in addition. The timetable must be established with reference to any extracurricular activities and travel arrangements and be flexible enough for unexpected changes.
The Tutor will be entitled to a minimum of 9 weeks paid vacation per annum at times convenient to the Client, and not be taken consecutively.
Accommodation, Transport and Miscellaneous
In Arizona, the Tutor will have furnished accommodation near the family home. This accommodation may contain the designated schoolroom. The Tutor must ensure the ‘school’ is well-stocked and is a conducive environment for learning. All rent, utilities, and Internet on the Tutor’s accommodation will be arranged and paid for by the Client save for the Tutor’s personal phone bill. Accommodation will also be provided when the Tutor is traveling with the Client.
It is essential that the Tutor drives. A car will be made available for their use in Arizona. In all other locations, their use of public transport will be reimbursed, or cars will be rented as needed.
The Tutor must be fit and healthy, and a non-smoker.
The Tutor needs to ensure that he or she has the requisite travel and health insurance, has received the required vaccinations, and has the necessary visas.
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