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More About Me - Ron Skoczylas

My secondary school education was at Saltley Grammar School in Birmingham. I went to Leeds University where I obtained an upper second class honours degree in Civil Engineering. After my degree, I decided to enter the teaching profession, obtaining a Post Graduate Certificate in Education with emphasis on Physics and Mathematics, also at Leeds University.

 

Great Wyrley High School, in Staffordshire, was the first school at which I taught. I spent ten years there as a Science teacher, specialising in Physics, teaching the subject to A Level. I then moved to Cardinal Griffin RC High School in Cannock as Head of Physics. I spent 19 years there until I retired having completed 29 years of classroom teaching.


I started Private Tuition in 1997 whilst I was still teaching. This was necessary because my son was offered a place at Sedbergh School in Cumbria and an extra source of income was needed. In 2003 I was diagnosed with Leukaemia and took early retirement from teaching. However, thanks to my sister, I had a successful bone marrow transplant in 2005. I have continued with Private Tuition to supplement my pension.

 

I live in Stafford and I am married with three children and three grandchildren.

 

 

My Working Method

 

Reasons for Hiring a Tutor

There are various reasons for hiring a tutor.

A student may;

  • be struggling in a subject and too shy to ask questions in class.simply wish to maximise their grade.
  • be aiming to obtain at least a grade 'C' GCSE to get on a specific course. (number grades are being introduced).
  • be aiming to get the grades for their chosen university course.
  • be wishing to maximise their chance of entering an institution which is heavily over subscribed. For example, Oxbridge, Imperial College, The American Universities. ( for example one of my students is due to start this autumn (2016) at Columbia University, New York, USA).

One of the usual side effects for a student who commits to the tuition is an increase in self confidence.

 

 

Teaching Methods

One to one tuition is a method of teaching that is virtually impossible to replicate in school. It is not possible for a class room teacher to devise individual lessons (and closely supervise the delivery of said lesson) for 25 plus pupils.

Each morning I sit down and devise a lesson tailored to the specific needs of each student that I shall see that day. Usually the aim of the impending lesson has been decided in advance in consultation with the student and/or with the student's parents.

When I first see a student I make an assessment of what are the priorities for that student. In the time available it is not possible to teach an entire course*(see below) - this is why it is important to set priorities.

I encourage students to think about their learning, and to a large extent, decide the directions that we take. This can be done at the end of the previous lesson or by sending me an email the day before the next lesson.

Students are taught mainly by 'doing'. Of course I will go through the neccessary theory - but as soon as possible we will do questions, worksheets etc. Having to listen for too long is not conducive to concentration.

I always bring to the lesson two copies of each worksheet, exam paper etc. As the student answers the questions I answer the same questions on my copy. The reason for this is two fold:

 

  • I will know exactly what challenges and potential pitfalls the student is likely to come across and what opportunities for teaching points are likely to arise.
  • At the end of the lesson the student will have the solutions to the questions, which can inform further work.

When we encounter a problem I always try to elicit the answer from the student by asking a series of questions which lead to the answer. One of the rewards of this job for me is to see the dawning realisation on a student's face when they see that they have answered the question.

 

 

Examinations

 

Some months before an examination we will start doing past examination papers. The papers are done in conjunction with the official mark scheme and examiner's report. This ensures that we identify exactly what the examiner is looking for.

 

Even though we have the mark scheme I still do the exam alongside the student. The mark scheme contains the 'bare bones' of the solutions - no explanations. A mark scheme can be a daunting document to read; especially A level maths mark schemes. When I answer the questions I try to put in explanations and tips etc.

 

I have in fact taught OCR Additional Mathematics to a Year 11 student because her school could not offer the course. However, she was secure in her Science and Mathematics GCSEs, so we were able to spend all her tuition time on the OCR course.

 

 

 

 


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