Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach
When I was a young child my parents believed it was inevitable that I would one day become a teacher, it was what I was meant to do – and I’m glad to say they were 100% correct. Teaching has always called to me, first because of the wonderful teachers who influenced me, and then through the joy I found in having the same effect on others.
My teaching career began with a small role as an assistant and then supply teacher in a private school at the age of 18, and it’s something that I have pursued at every stage of my life since. Whilst I was undertaking my undergraduate study program I was also able to obtain my QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). This allowed me the opportunity to explore a wide variety of methods and subjects, including using computer simulations in teaching physics and how best to approach students with Dyscalculia and other learning difficulties. This passion for teaching would stay with me as I moved into postgraduate studies and then the early stages of my professional career.
I knew the next stage of my life had to involve teaching – it is a profession that rewards those who have a genuine passion for it, those who approach it with empathy, compassion, patience, and enthusiasm. For those people there is a chance to make a genuine difference, but without those qualities, you’re left with teachers who approach it as merely a job and ultimately fail those who matter – the students.
It is because of this I decided to launch my own teaching and tutoring enterprise, Phi Tuition, a commercially successful project which also allowed me to pursue my passion for teaching and education. At the root of Phi Tuition is the drive to encourage and nurture the best teaching and quality of education possible. Facilitating not just the personal qualities mentioned above, but also the best skills and approaches based on a critical theoretical approach. This theoretical knowledge is hugely important, as it allows teachers to adapt to the different personalities and education styles of their students, and to be more effective educators.
There is more to it than that though, a modern theoretical approach is important, it grounds teachers with a core set of skills and approaches. But teaching can never be rote and in order to truly inspire and educate, a teacher must be willing to be guided by intuition, ingenuity, and an openness to new ideas. The goal of education is not just to pass on knowledge, it is to pass on the skills and traits that will allow those that come after us to take our understanding of the world to new heights, to develop new technologies, and to move society forward.
Together with parental involvement and the quality of teaching, I believe that leadership is the third most important factor contributing to educational development and achievement. This leadership, at all levels, determines the operational ethos, reflects the ambition of the school, and promotes good teaching practices by fostering a fertile space in which students can grow and develop.
Being based in a diverse and thriving city like London means that my students come from different backgrounds and families with different perspectives and expectations when it comes to education. Rather than see this an insurmountable problem, I believe it encapsulates the biggest challenge of being a school leader: ensuring that there are solid foundations and clear working frameworks which enable every student to flourish. For this to truly work, the role of an educator is one that has to be performed day-in and day-out consistently and reliably.