Home-Schooling & Enrichment
I have worked with a number of families who have chosen to home-school their children and I love doing it! I began with a student who had withdrawn from school for medical reasons; we worked on her GCSEs and she got A* in both literature and language in a year; I have taught two sisters in their teens living in Los Angeles, whose parents wanted a more exciting education than that offered by mainstream schools; and last year, I started home-schooling a 14-year-old boy. We opted for an ambitious but rewarding set of texts for his summer term: Hartley's The Go-Between, Miller's The Crucible and Larkin's The Whitsun Wedding. Now we are working towards his GCSEs (Cambridge's iGCSE Literature and Language), have already studied Macbeth and are now working on Carol Ann Duffy's poems. We have time for extras: lots of creative writing (he has entered several competitions), discussions about film, novels, plays and poems in general.
Something extra for those still at school
English lessons shouldn't just be about examination preparation. I have provided enrichment lessons for many students. One of my students (now at Oxford reading English) and I worked together for four years studying topics from literary theory to dystopian literature. Another student (then year 5) and I studied Simon Armitage's translation of the medieval poem Gawain and the Green Knight; over the next four years we covered Great Expectations, the sonnet, creative writing, pastoral poetry, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Winter's Tale and satire, via Jonathan Swift and Austen. All of this was in addition to the work he was doing at school. Above all I encourage students to become independent learners, readers and writers.
I have recently begun working with a woman in her sixties who has decided to start again with English. She is aiming high - working towards being able to apply to go to university. Right now we are exploring the basics: she has the ideas but needs the techniques and terminology to express them. I taught mature students when I was lecturing at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University but this is a new departure in my online tutoring career. I am really excited about these lessons as they present an entirely different kind of challenge: sharing new ways of reading with someone who already has a long and rich life experience behind her.
For more information on how I work and details on how to contact me, please go to my Facts and Figures page.
Sophie has taught both my sons over the last 5 years initially so that they could pass the 11+ exam and then subsequently because they enjoyed her teaching so much. Even during the stresses of exam preparation Sophie was a sweet and encouraging presence hilst remaining rigorous and thorough and, importantly, successful! The fact is that she is an excellent and inspiring teacher: after the exams my youngest son asked to continue the tuition because he enjoyed the range of writing and reading that Sophie brought to the lessons. Sophie loves her subject and this passion has been incredibly beneficial for both my sons' appreciation of literature and the skill with which they are able to use the English language.
Parent of boys, now years 9 & 11 with whom I have worked for five years
I worked with Sophie at St Paul's when she was the leading teacher for Creative Writing. It's no exaggeration to say that she is one of the most inspiring colleagues and teachers I have encountered. Why? She is full of ideas and energy; if I was ever looking for inspiration or an exciting way of approaching fairly dry exam-related material then it is to her I would turn. I certainly have Sophie to thank for the confidence I now feel in delivering lessons on all aspects of creative writing. Sophie loves talking about literature and exudes passion from every pore - this makes her such good company in the classroom and the staff room. A literary priestess to her students, I should confess to holding her in similar seraphic regard!
Former colleague from the English Department at St Paul's Girls' School
I boom-mumble I bass-blow
I hull-heavy I big/slow
I boat-bump I limpet-skin
I soft-sink I sky-swim
I sea-search I salt-swallow
I bone-backed I fluke-follow
I gulf-cross I listen-talk
I moon-map I wave-walk
I tail-turn I time-keep
I ship-wreck I song-seek
I blue-blood I grumble-sing
I fish-heart I dream king
Sophie Stephenson-Wright was one of my students. She came to the Creative Writing Group at St Paul's Girls' School which I ran for 5 years. Here Sophie discovered she particularly liked writing about the natural world. She was one of the Poetry Society's Foyle Young Poets of the Year winners in 2008 along with fellow former student Emma Jourdan; she was one of three highly commended poets for the Tower Poetry Competition in 2009 along with Emma Jourdan and another former student Beth Aitman; she won the BBC Wildlife of Year Young Poet competition in 2008; and in 2010 she was chosen by Poems on the Underground to represent emerging young talent with this extraordinary poem, 'Whale Song'. In 2016, this poem was included in The Emma Press Anthology of The Sea edited by Eve Lacey. Thanks to Sophie's success and that of other students, I was invited to become a Teacher Trailblazer by the Poetry Society in 2009.