When I was teaching in secondary school, I felt deeply uneasy with the idea of sending any child of mine there.
The opinions, habits and cultures of same-aged peers clearly had the upper hand over the choices of the parents or the family culture, which felt topsy-turvy at best and dangerous at worst.
I also felt like the way we were teaching GCSEs was deeply flawed - both in Languages and History, the obsession with focusing on transferable skills (and other such jargon-y gimmicks) meant that we were effectively destroying from the inside any of the natural inclinations a child would have for either subject.
In Languages they were left to learn by heart texts they had technically written but barely understood, whilst in History they were doing document analysis ad nauseam without any understanding of context, or even basic knowledge of their own country's history.
And to cap it all, when I taught History undergraduates, most of them struggled all the same with writing document analyses - let alone doing so to scholarly standards!
Why did you become an RCA tutor?
I always loved teaching so it was on my mind from the start to join the team myself once we joined RCA as a family - but I also had a newborn baby at that point. My joining the following year felt like the right way to support something we believed in and wanted to see flourish.
Some of the elements are the same, prepping, marking, and writing report cards, but the relationship with parents is fundamentally different and the rapport with children is delightful.
In terms of what we teach, the classical method allows for much deeper engagement from the children.
The combination of small classes and the Don Bosco method of preventative discipline means that I can focus on teaching, having surprisingly deep conversations with the children, and fun!
How do you find co-teaching with parents?
It is one of the most surprising aspects of teaching at RCA. In schools, although the parents know their child better than the teacher, the teacher is the only one who knows anything about what is being taught.
I feel this is a truly wonderful way to teach a child, both as a teacher and as a parent!
Your children also attend RCA. What has the reality of hybrid teaching been like for you?
I personally appreciate not being the only one teaching my children, but giving them the benefit of different approaches, whilst retaining a lot of control over their education.
Homeschooling also means there is plenty of time for me to add anything I particularly wish to transmit to my children.
In our family's case, we have been able to also teach French poetry, History, grammar and spelling in a way I would never have been able to, had the children gone to a mainstream school.
What would you say to someone considering becoming an RCA tutor?
I have taught in pretty much every other setting - primary school, secondary school, sixth form college, university and private tuition - and nowhere have I enjoyed teaching as much as I do at RCA!