In 2016 I graduated from the National Film and Television school with a Masters in screenwriting; as a fledgling writer new to the business I sought out work that fit with my schedule of writing and meetings. Having worked as a mentor and workshop leader for several years I thought I would give tutoring a shot, so I signed up with Dulwich Tutors on the recommendation of another tutor, as they were one of the few agencies that offered training in entrance exams.
I’d done some work in schools previously, but it doesn’t compare to one-to-one time with a student. With tutoring you have the chance to completely tailor the lesson to the student’s personality and learning style, and you reap the rewards when they notice themselves how quickly they can unpack a subject that was mystifying them three weeks ago.
It wasn’t long before my tutees were providing some of the most enjoyable and rewarding hours of my week; they’re funny, inspiring and actually excited to learn – something I wasn’t expecting. They and their families have welcomed me out of my bubble and into their homes, and I am a better writer and person because of it.
This is one day in my life as a screenwriter and tutor.
7:30am: Wake-up, brew coffee, get ready for the day.
8:00am: I take my computer up to the top-deck of the barge where I live, the commuter boats are already racing up and down the Thames. I video call a director friend and frequent collaborator who is working in her studio near Leicester. We spend an hour going over our current projects and plans for future deadlines.
9:00am: I pack my bag with my laptop, my notebooks and a folder for each of the tutees I’ll be seeing that day, before heading off to the library.
9:45am: At the library my first job is to organise all my lessons for the evening – I have two tutorials this evening, one 11+, one GCSE English, so not much crossover. I go back over my notes from past tutorials where I have highlighted gaps in my tutees knowledge and I find or devise fitting exercises to address these issues as well as some stretch questions to push forward with. I’m lucky that my library has a brilliant education section for teachers, and I often steal ideas from there.
11:30am: After another coffee break, with my tutorials planned and printed, I can completely focus on my screenwriting work. I’m redrafting a micro-budget feature film at the moment and we have a big meeting in the next few weeks with someone we hope to act as our executive producer, so no-pressure! I have a quick lunch, but this work takes me through most of the day.
4:30pm: Having sat at a desk for the best part of my day, I decide to walk to my first tutorial to stretch my legs and allow me to change gears from my writing to someone else’s.
5:15pm: I arrive at my GCSE student’s house, who I’m helping to get ready for an English Language re-sit. A large part of the exam is creative writing, my favourite subject to teach, so we always manage to have fun despite it being quite intensive work in the run-up to the exam. Before I leave, I have a brief chat with the student and his parents where we discuss how we think it’s going and what the student needs to achieve before I see him next.
6:15pm: I’m lucky to have two students who live only 10 minutes from each other, so after a brief walk I reach my 11+ students house.
6:30pm: I’ve been tutoring my 11+ student for the best part of a year, so we relax into our tutorial very easily. I used to always start out with writing games, but now he’s so eager to do Maths first we jump straight in to it. The hour always passes so quickly, and it feels like no time at all before the tutorial is up, and I’m out the door on my way home.
8:15pm: Arrive back at the boat, where amazingly supper is waiting for me. I sit down to eat, happy to be finished with work for the day.
9:15pm: Read or watch television, or sit out on the deck and do nothing at all.
10:30: Finally, time for bed.
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