Empowering Through Flexibility: A Day in the Life of SEND Tutor, Shelley

Curious to step into the shoes of one of our exceptional tutors? Join us as we explore a day in the life of our SEND Tutor, Shelley.

The day kicks off at 7:00 AM, and my first task is coaxing my beloved dog out of her deep, cosy slumber. She's quite the sleeper, you see, but eventually, I can persuade her to venture outside. Once I've achieved this minor triumph, it's time to focus on my sustenance. 

I whip up a hearty breakfast that typically includes an egg, a refreshing fruit and coconut milk smoothie, and a steaming cup of decaf coffee. Occasionally, I may sneak in a delightful crumpet, generously adorned with a dollop of Nutella. While my coffee cools down, I ensure I'm well-prepared for the day ahead. If I'm scheduled to visit a young person's house, I make sure all the necessary materials are placed by the door. Or if it's an online session, I organise everything at my desk upstairs. With breakfast enjoyed, I either log on to my virtual session or drive to the young person's house.

Each day in my role can vary, offering flexibility to align with how I prefer to manage my schedule. A typical day might involve starting the morning by arriving at a designated location for a teaching session with a young person at 9 am, which lasts for an hour. Then, it's a quick transition into my car for a 2.5-hour session at 10:15 am. The remainder of the day can take on different forms, depending on whether I continue with face-to-face tuition or return home for online sessions. I’ll have my lunch and complete my online reports whilst sipping on a cup of tea before finishing the day. 

Being welcomed into someone's home is a privilege I deeply cherish. It's an honour that I hold in high regard, and I make a conscious effort to convey this sentiment. Sensitivity to their surroundings is essential to create a comfortable and respectful environment.

During my online teaching sessions, I often kick things off with a chat. It's a simple yet effective way to break the ice and foster a sense of connection before diving into the educational material. When individuals feel valued and heard, they become more receptive to the learning process. We all have a natural desire to be acknowledged and understood, and it's crucial for me to gauge whether the person I'm working with needs that initial chat, whether it's a brief 20-second or an extended 10-minute conversation. This approach sets the stage for a more positive and productive learning experience.

When working with a young person, I prioritise aligning our efforts with the objectives they wish to focus on. I believe in giving them agency in their learning journey while gently offering guidance when necessary. This approach is facilitated by the incredible flexibility we enjoy in this role, and it significantly enhances engagement and, consequently, the depth of learning achieved.

Achievement takes various forms in our interactions. It might manifest through increased eye contact, enriched conversations, a newfound willingness to try when previous methods have fallen short, moments like "You've done 20 minutes, Wow!" that celebrate progress, smiles and laughter, or even when they show interest in my day by asking questions. Forward-thinking, planning for the future, and persistent efforts are all part of this journey. The list of achievements could go on indefinitely.

Ultimately, it's a collaborative process where we achieve something together. When the young person has achieved something it’s incredibly gratifying. As I bid farewell at the end of our session, I do so with an indelible smile on my face. Yes, there are undoubtedly challenging days, but from those challenges arises a sense of persistence and unwavering support. It's an invaluable feeling, truly priceless.

Leaving the traditional school environment behind for this role as a SEND Tutor is a decision I've never regretted, not for a single moment. Today, I genuinely feel that I make a substantial and meaningful difference in someone's life, and that sense of purpose is immeasurable.

Has Shelley’s story inspired you? Find out how you too can empower young people with diverse needs to reengage with learning by becoming a SEND Tutor with Targeted Provision.

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