• 11+ English & Maths: ISEB, public school entrance exams and pre-tests
• 13+ English: ISEB and public school entrance exams
• IGCSE/GCSE English Language and Literature (AQA, CIE, Edexcel, OCR & WJEC)
• AS level and A-level English Literature (AQA, CIE, Edexcel, OCR & WJEC)
As a private tutor, I have worked with students of varying abilities in schools, at their homes and online.
Having undertaken Keystone Tutors’ rigorous training in 11+ Maths and English, I recommend preparing for pre-tests by building up a thorough knowledge of the syllabus, and focusing as much as possible on comprehension, grammar and close procedure and mental arithmetic and word problems.
At A-level and GCSE, my diverse experience ranges from mentoring high-achieving AS and A Level English Literature students on bespoke examination skills such as analysing unseen prose and essay technique, to assisting struggling GCSE English students with comprehension, engaging with texts from Shakespeare to ''An Inspector Calls'', and approaching longer writing tasks. I also specialise in preparing students for studying English Literature at university. I teach online students in locations including Jersey, Turkey and the Cayman Islands, including students on an international curriculum.
I have four years’ experience teaching English Literature at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, both at the University of Sussex, where I was a Teaching Fellow, and at New York University. As a university lecturer I worked closely with students, supervising projects ranging from essay composition and study skills workshops to final-year dissertations and MA term papers.
In 2017 I worked as a tour manager for the educational travel company ACIS (American Council for International Studies), leading groups of American high-school students on tours of Europe that explored the literary, artistic and social histories of the continent. In this role I came to appreciate the unique value of site-specific learning, and how cultural visits – whether to a historic church, a royal palace or an Elizabethan theatre – can deepen a student’s connection with a subject, and more broadly enrich their world-perspective.
I grew up in the sleepy town of Sherborne in Dorset and attended the Gryphon School, where I studied A-levels in English Literature (A), History (A) and French (B), and Music AS Level (A).
I obtained my BA in English at King’s College London in 2009 with First Class Honours before completing an MA in Comparative Literary Studies at Goldsmiths, for which I received a Distinction. It was at Goldsmiths that I discovered my passion for American literature, and I went on to write a PhD on the American novelists Philip Roth and Don DeLillo at the University of Sussex, completed in 2014. My experience as a private tutor began whilst studying for my PhD.
My blog posts
08/03/2022: How to get a 9 in GCSE English
04/12/2020: Is Online Tuition for English Right for My Child?
I firmly believe that no subject, however daunting, is too difficult for a student. My job and favourite activity is to find that relatable example or way of looking at a topic that can unlock complex material for a learner. Thanks to my previous experience as both a tutor and a university lecturer, I have experience doing this at all levels of secondary school and university English Literature.
For me, the crucial starting point when tutoring is engaging a student’s interest. One-to-one tutoring is a unique opportunity to tailor teaching to the character and needs of an individual learner. Every student’s mind works differently, and framing a subject in a way that excites that particular young person helps them find the energy and confidence to achieve. When tutoring online,
Once a student is engaged, my priority is pushing and expanding their understanding in line with the relevant syllabus. I design a scheme of work for each student that solidly structures their learning and rigorously enables them in the demands of assessments. When a student sits down in the exam hall, they should be confident as to what the exam is asking them, and how to answer.
My attention to engagement and structured progress provides struggling students with the tools and attitude to help lift their grades, and assists well-performing students in discovering that extra flair and enjoyment that can distinguish their work at the highest level.
What I do when I am not tutoring
When I am not tutoring, I pursue my passions for reading, creative writing and researching academic papers. My first play was performed at the Salisbury Playhouse when I was fifteen, and I have since collaborated on children’s picture books with artist friends, as well as writing fiction.
I love to travel to foreign cities for work and pleasure, and have previously been invited to speak at academic conferences in Chicago and Helsinki. Music is another inspiring part of my life - I play the piano and the guitar, and I am a hardened veteran of many of the best music festivals in the UK!
"Thank you much for having worked with my daughter over the course of the academic year in preparation for her GCSE exams. We feel confident that with your help she is as prepared as she can be and in addition you have certainly helped with her confidence. We feel very lucky to have had you as support for her. Thank you for everything and we wish you much success with your writing career. We shall certainly be in touch in the future if either of our girls need English tuition of any kind." (Mother of GCSE student)
"My daughter received 5 offers today....Thank you so much again for all that you did to prepare her for the exams and interviews. I can honestly say that we couldn’t have done it without you." (Mother of 11+ candidate)
''Thanks to you, she now loves academics more than the performing arts! She is not finding the academic difficult at all and she was so scared. At her new school they all think she is very bright and academically prepared!'' (Mother of a home-schooling student)
“Michael is super professional and thorough. He makes me feel very reassured.” (Mother of GCSE student)
''The first two lessons went very well and my daughter is already benefitting from the lessons. This is exactly what she needed. Thank you!'' (Mother of AS English Student)
''A fantastic tutor who supervised some of the best seminars I have attended.'' (University Undergraduate English Literature student)
''Incredibly good at explaining the hard theory in the seminars.'' (University Undergraduate English Literature student)