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 kind of interactions and how rewarding it could be to make a real difference to a student's school life, to 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 three 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 majority of my students have excelled in their exams.
I was born and have lived in London my whole life, though I come from a mixed background, my mother being Indonesian-Chinese and my father Anglo-Dutch. This perhaps explains my passion for and fascination with English as both a subject and a language, as a means of communicating and deepening one's understanding of the world.
I studied at Westminster School, taking A levels in English, History, History of Art and Religious Studies, before going on to do English 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 (more information about which can be found at 13pp.wordpress.co.uk).
Now back in London again, I work as a freelance writer and editor and, more than ever, relish the opportunity to work with young people as a tutor.
I love to talk to my tutees, to hear what they have to say about their subject and to harness their inherent ability. That said, the needs of a particular tutee will vary from situation to situation - sometimes he or she 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, even 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, imagination and effort into helping them achieve their full potential.
What I do when I am not tutoring
I currently work as a freelance writer and organise poetry readings and workshops. The flexibility this gives me means I have a great deal of time to devote to tutoring, an activity which I take very seriously in its own right and which, of course, feeds into my enthusiasm for literature.
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)