Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The cat on the keyboard (and other tales of daily life as an NEC tutor)


At the centre of NEC’s model of distance learning is a personal tutor who is a specialist in the subject each student is studying. For anyone considering becoming a distance learning tutor, there’s no doubting the value the role brings to students. Time after time, when students tell us what they really like about studying with NEC, it’s their relationship with their tutor that they value above everything else.

But what is being an NEC tutor actually like day-to-day? We asked two tutors to talk about their work. Each of them paints a picture of a way of earning a living that is varied and flexible, with lots of contact with students and time to fit in other interests.

The former FE teacher

Josie, who is a biology specialist, taught in colleges of further education for almost two decades before she started working for NEC.

‘Each day is different, so it's impossible to pin down what I do on a typical day. The flexibility of the work means I can fit it around other work, gym, swimming, shopping, the dentist and whatever else I need to do. Most days I check to see if there are any new enrolees for me, then contact them with the welcome email or letter and log the contact.

‘It is a rare day when there are no queries to deal with, by email or forum, so I like to answer those as soon as possible. Queries may be from learners or NEC staff. Then any assignment marking gets tackled.

‘There is also occasional chasing up to be done, contacting learners I've not heard from for a while. All this while trying to keep the cat from walking on the keyboard and editing documents, sorting and packing in preparation for moving house in a few weeks, doing a bit of gardening when the weather gives me a chance and dealing with anything else that comes along.’

The second chance learner

Valerie is a tutor for all the English and literature subjects NEC offers, as well as classical civilisation and sociology at all levels.

‘Over the ten or more very enjoyable years I have been an NEC tutor, I have had a variety of students of all ages, abilities and from all walks of life, from the UK and abroad.

‘I can understand some of the students’ fears and problems from personal experience as I left school at fifteen with no qualifications. I was married at twenty-one. My husband was in the RAF and we lived abroad for over twenty years. So it wasn't until my 50s that I finally had the time and a chance to resume further education. I joined the Open University and completed a BA (Hons) then an MA in Literature.

‘I really enjoy my work with the students and NEC whilst also being able to work in the comfort of my own home. I would guarantee that anyone considering joining us will receive a very warm welcome and help to achieve their ambitions as a tutor.’

What NEC learners say about their tutors

Carly, Angela and Elliot have studied very different subjects, for very different reasons. What they have in common, though, is acknowledging the support they received from their tutor.

Carly, who studied the CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce, says:  ‘If it wasn't for Kate I wouldn't have been able to complete the course. It was always a pleasure dealing with her, she was so helpful and nothing was too much trouble.’

Angela, who has finally achieved her goal of a maths GCSE, told us: ‘I've tried twice before at adult learning colleges so I'm chuffed! Alan was so helpful and answers assignments and queries straight away every time.’

Home educated student, Elliot, now in the final year of a law degree at the University of Cambridge, acknowledges the debt he owes to his tutor: ‘Phillip...passes on his genuine interest in and enthusiasm for his subject.’

To find out more about our tutors, our learners, and the wide range of flexible distance learning courses we offer, visit our website or speak to our team. You can keep up to date with all our latest news and events by subscribing to our newsletter and following our blog. We can also be found on social networks including Facebook and Twitter.

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