I began tutoring after leaving Oxford in 2010, while I was working in the SEN Department of the Heathland School in Hounslow. There, alongside providing classroom support, I was given the task of mentoring students who were lagging behind or had language and/or learning difficulties. I quickly realised how much I enjoyed these kinds of interactions and how rewarding it could be to make a difference to a student's school life, and to help broaden someone's academic horizons.
I started working with a number of tutees privately, including an 18 year-old girl who was aiming to reach her stipulated B-grade in English in order to take up a place at Bristol University that year. I worked closely with her on different ways of analysing her set texts (Twelfth Night and Dracula) and on improving her writing style for her coursework. After much hard work, she successfully achieved her grades and went on to study medicine at Bristol.
I also took on several younger tutees preparing for their 11+ and 13+ exams at Mill Hill, Dulwich College, Colet Court and others (all successful), and helped two students preparing for their GCSEs in English Language and Literature (I'm thus well aware of the different requirements for all of the major exam boards, such as Edexcel, AQA, OCR and ICE). Some students simply lacked confidence, so I provided general support with a number of their subjects, helping them to organise their work better, manage their time and improve their critical thinking.
I studied History at A-Level (using the OCR syllabus, focussing on the Elizabethan period) and Religious Studies (also OCR, combining ethics and the philosophy of religion), both of which I achieved highly in and have since taught up to A level. (Many of the skills needed - analysis of sources, essay-writing techniques, argument-building and so on - are transferrable across the humanities.)
I now have over five years' experience tutoring (and occasionally home-schooling) over thirty students in English literature and language, Religious Studies and History at least up to A Level, as well as preparing students for Common Entrance exams and university interviews. The vast majority of my students have excelled.
I was born and have lived in London my whole life, though I come from a mixed background – my mother is Indonesian-Chinese and my father Anglo-Dutch. I studied at Westminster School, taking A levels in English, History, History of Art and Religious Studies, before going on to do English Language and Literature at Oxford, where I gained a first class degree. Afterwards, I spent six months working in the SEN Department of the Heathland School and started tutoring privately. In 2011, I took up a place at the University of St Andrews as an Urquhart scholar and obtained a Masters in Poetry with distinction. While in Scotland, I also set up a poetry and arts journal called 13 Pages.
Based in London again, I work as a freelance writer and editor, alongside working as a tutor. I'm the author of two books: a chapbook of poems, All this is implied (HappenStance, 2017), which was joint winner of the London Review Bookshop Pamphlet of the Year and shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award by the National Library of Scotland; Mixed-Race Superman, an essay, was published by Peninsula Press in May 2018. My work has been shortlisted for a Forward Prize, and featured in The Guardian, the Evening Standard, the Financial Times, Granta and The Poetry Review, among other places.
My approach varies from tutee to tutee. I want to hear what they have to say about their subject and to harness our course of study to their strengths. Sometimes this might require more direction or a more practical, exam-based approach; at other times it might be a case of talking through and clarifying ideas, trying to see the fun side of a subject or text - but I'm always more than happy to let the tutee determine the shape of the tutorial. My goal, ultimately, is to treat each student as an individual and put all of my patience and imagination into helping them achieve their potential.
What I do when I am not tutoring
I currently work as a freelance writer and editor; I've published a book of poems and an essay, been widely published in magazines and anthologies. I also organise events and school workshops. I assistant edit several magazines, and have edited two books myself.
I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to you as Chris has achieved A* in English test this week. He is very happy indeed. (Mother of online GCSE Student)
'William was very helpful in showing my daughter ways to improve her skills in A level essay writing, understanding the structure of English Texts and carrying out meaningful comparisons between them. William was practical and focused on techniques that would help her achieve higher marks.' (Anastasia, mother of A level student)
'William is easy to get on with, enthusiastic and an impressive tutor in spite of his young age. His style of teaching is very approachable and is adjusted to the needs and personality of his tutee.' (Henry, father of GCSE student)