How does it compare teaching in a standard mainstream classroom to tutoring students one-to-one or in small groups?
I really enjoy having the freedom to innovate and to create materials which best suit the individual student(s). It makes a huge difference when you are able to focus your attention on one or a few students, rather than having to streamline materials to suit a larger class. It means that I am able to focus my attention on the strengths and weaknesses of the individual pupils as well as creating dynamic approaches to learning which cater to these diverse needs.
On the other hand, there is less room for collaboration between pupils. In a traditional classroom setting, there would be a better capacity for creating group tasks, which can offer students an opportunity to learn from one another and to grow together. For instance, a task which might demonstrate one pupil’s strengths, may provide challenges for another. Working in a group in this way might offer students an opportunity to both discover their relative strengths and weaknesses and to work on these in a productive and collaborate way.
I’m a big believer in the idea that pupils have individual strengths, and in harnessing these strengths to suit the student as well as providing opportunities to work on weaker areas. An example of this might be enabling a student who enjoys challenging and innovating her own methods, to create a game focusing on a particularly difficult area of Key Stage 2 Maths.
For me, being able to work one-to-one with students is a great opportunity. I’ve outlined a couple of strengths/weaknesses of both settings above, but I think ultimately having the freedom to innovate and create materials which are always fresh and dynamic for students is really rewarding and beats standard classroom learning for me most days.