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Imagine this: You are a meticulous, hardworking student working diligently in hopes of attaining high grades. Your teacher – though often found to go on a tangent during lessons – is equally as hardworking and committed to your grades. All is well as you continue to make gradual progress. Then, one day, out of the blue you turn up to lesson and find… a supply teacher.

 

Now having a supply teacher for a subject – any subject – at any point in your education is never ideal. God forbid it be during year 11, when you’re in the final stretch, the finish line in sight and your foot firmly placed on the pedal. Yet unfortunately for some, that may be the case.

 

Many of these students find themselves in such a situation where – although they may try their utmost best – their supply teacher just does not seem to have the slightest clue on what your class has been doing. In which case it is your responsibility as an ambitious, resourceful and determined individual to carve your own way. Everyone wants to do well. Unfortunately not everyone will. In order to have the best chance you must – and I cannot stress this enough – be self-aware.

 

Now what do I mean by that? Well, being self-aware means to be perceptive; it means to be able to identify and acknowledge your internal states – whether that is emotionally or mentally.

 

Self-awareness also relates to the idea of being reflective of your aims and goals as well as your current level of progress. This means to be truthful to yourself:

 

Do you truly understand this aspect of the curriculum?

 

Are you able to independently complete exam-style questions?

 

If asked, would you be able to explain this topic to another student? 

 

If the answer to all these questions is yes, then you are well on your way to attaining the grades you desire. If the answer is no, never fear. There may still be time – provided you are able to then take this information and use it to make an effective plan that aids you in attacking the subject.

 

Now this is where your tutor may come in.

 

A tutor can help you recognise exactly what aspects of the curriculum you have covered as well as what you have left. They are then able to take this information and design a plan which allows you to cover all you need to know with ample time as well as planning in some revision session along the way. Through ‘chunking’ you are able to ensure your brain can be trained to recollect information when it is needed. Thus, not only would you be covering the subject in helpful, manageable amounts but also revisiting topics.

 

So let’s work through an example of how your tutor can help you do this. Assume the subject you have a supply teacher in is maths and you have about 4 months left until exam season hits you. With your original teacher, you have covered all the more basic stuff – linear sequences, straight-line graphs, trigonometry and so on. What you have left is some of the more complex maths such as vectors, circle theorems etc.

 

Your tutor would start you off with an assessment, checking how much you think you know and correlating it to how much you most definitely do know. If there ae any gaps in your knowledge, they will work to deal with them first. Next, your tutor would create a plan in collaboration with you – the student. After that, your tutor will then start covering the topics you have yet to learn – remaining in line with what you are working on in school to complete your GCSE maths course within the mutually agreed upon time limits.

 

Your tutor can also help encourage self-awareness: outwardly asking the questions to help build in that little voice that helps you to get into the habit of reflection – a skill that will come in use later on in your studies.

 

Thus in time, with a little guidance and a lot of hard work, you would make the desired progress. Now imagine this: you are a meticulous, hardworking student who spent their time working diligently in hopes of attaining high grades… and that is exactly what you get.