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Mathilda

"Mathilda is a natural born teacher, able to impart her enthusiasm for language with her students and make their learning experience fun and fulfilling. She is highly engaging, patient and always well prepared."

Parent of English Language & Literature HL/SL student

  • A Level

  • English Language

  • English Literature

  • IB

  • IGCSE

Academic History

1st Class Degree Hons. English and Spanish – University of Exeter (with Deans Commendation for Academic Excellence)

IB Score – 44 – English Literature HL (7), French B HL (7), Biology HL (7), Spanish B SL (7), Maths SL (7), History SL (6), ToK (A), EE (A)

iGCSE English Language (A*), iGCSE English Literature (A*), iGCSE Double Award Science (Physics, Biology, Chemistry) (A*A*), iGCSE Maths (A*), iGCSE Spanish (A*), iGCSE French (A*), iGCSE Art (A), GCSE Latin (A*), GCSE History (A*), iGCSE Religious Studies (A)

About Me

In my view, a successful tutor must have the following qualities: empathy, patience, passion and flexibility. Without these, and no matter how great the tutor’s subject knowledge is, the tutor-student relationship will be less successful. For me, it all starts with building the student’s confidence, and I believe that all student success hinges on belief in themselves and their ability. In my extensive experience, the most common sentence I hear is “I am not very good at [subject]”. Often, this is not the case at all, and instead reflects a lack of self-belief which may have been influenced by disparaging comments from teachers, family or friends. My priority is getting to know the student as a person, so I can properly understand their struggles, learning needs and outside interests, and I can then fuse this with academic support. I aim to be both an academic and personal mentor to students, as a partnership built on trust and security is more conducive to success. There is nothing more rewarding than watching students flourish, and I am grateful to be a part of that.

When I acquire new students, I first meet with the parents or the student (or both) to discuss their specific needs, and from here I draw up an individual learning plan for the student. This includes, but is not exclusive to, their SEN needs, language background, their school experience, the main struggles they are facing, and their future aspirations (grades/university etc). This allows me to best tailor my approach.

To give an example, I would estimate 50% of my students have dyslexia and about 1/4 have ADD. The high prevalence of these SEN in students seeking tuition is most likely due to the inability of mainstream schools to fully cater to individual SEN requirements. I have never seen this as an obstacle, as I work hard to design my teaching approach according to the individual’s needs. Many of my English Literature students have dyslexia, and often find it hard to read and process large quantities of text. I combat this in several ways: firstly, I adjust the pace so as to give them time to process the material (a benefit of one-on-one); and secondly, I aim to make sessions more interactive by watching videos or listening to audiobooks of the texts, and in general build multisensory elements into teaching (this works well for dyscalculia, ADD and dyslexia). It is also important to remain patient, for example, if a student takes longer to grasp a concept because of SEN, I will repeatedly revise the subject until the student feels confident. I also aim to incorporate the student’s interests into the lesson material. For example, choosing literary texts that are based on a student’s passion, or looking at a historical subject that they find interesting. I employ this especially in TOK, where the student has more freedom regarding which subjects to discuss. This allows me to guide them towards discussing real life examples that align with their own interests.

One of the most important elements in my approach to teaching is the knowledge that I am always learning alongside the student, and that to be best equipped to help them, I need to constantly update my knowledge and skills. I am continually refreshing my knowledge on syllabi, syllabus changes, new additions to assessment. I read all exam papers, and also study the texts that my students are studying so as best to help them. I always find it refreshing to hear my students’ new ideas and perspectives. I encourage them to see how their individual life experiences bring a rich uniqueness to their analysis. I wish to teach them skills not just to help them through their exams, but skills that will stay with them for life. One of my long term IB students feared English, and now writes for her University Magazine. A boy who wished to only ever play COD started to love poetry, and now reads it for fun. Individualism is to be encouraged. I do not want my tutees to feel they are on a conveyor belt, or that they should conform. Nevertheless, I am aware that many have pressures to achieve (from parents/school/society), and I will work with them to get there, without forsaking who they are, with a good dose of humour along the way.

Recent tuition

I have helped students with university applications. This includes personal statements (UK), common app (USA) and university specific applications (such as IE Business School).

iGCSE English

P was a student I tutored whilst working at a British School in Asia. P had arrived at the school late into the first term of Y10, and had therefore missed the first few months of teaching. It was his first experience in an English school, having been taught exclusively in the Russian system until that point. His spoken and written English was still at beginner level, however he was expected to be in class alongside the other pupils, many of whom had a fluent level of English. This led to introversion and shyness when speaking. I was asked by the school to tutor P in addition to his main classes in order to bring him up to speed with literature, which he had never studied in English. In our first session, I brought him a poem, and for the first 30 or so minutes it was difficult to encourage him to speak at all. I realised I would need to change my approach to bring him out of his shell. Fortunately, I have a love of Russian Literature, and decided the best way to help him with English Literature was to teach Russian Literature in translation. From them on, every session I would bring a bilingual copy of a Russian text, for example, a chapter of Dr Zhivago or a poem of Anna Akhmatova. I would have him read it to me in Russian, and I would read the English. We would then analyse them together. The conversations that ensued were fascinating. P would often criticise the translation, telling me the meaning in Russian was more nuanced. By explaining to me the real meaning, he would practice his communication, which begun to improve significantly. He was also able to deduce the meaning of new English words by matching them to the Russian. Furthermore, when discussing techniques, I was able to learn from him about whether the same technique appeared in the Russian. Our discussions became lively and engaging, and his class teacher (on observing our lessons) commented that he was a different person. An otherwise quiet boy, P would begin talking to me excitedly whenever he saw me, and even ran up to me one day to say he had borrowed Dr Zhivago in English to read – a hard book for most English speakers. After just two months, P returned to his class, and I was told he far outperformed the other students.

IB English Language and Literature

I tutored E for 1.5 years at HL level. She came to me with several SEN requirements and with very low confidence in her ability. Her first language was French, and she had been taught in a foreign school system until IB. She had subsequently moved to a top Swiss School for IB. Her mother was worried about her school performance. She was receiving 3-4 and her teachers did not think she was capable of more than a 5. I had confidence that she could achieve a 7. I began by working through different text types with her, and building her confidence in spoken analysis. I encouraged a relaxed atmosphere where we shared ideas on the texts, as I knew she learnt best through verbal/auditory learning (due to dyslexia). We then progressed into written expression, and then into exam technique and IAs. She quickly began to enjoy analysing and discussing texts, and would write up every question or text we worked on in class, even when I didn’t ask her to. We quickly ran out of past questions to do, so I began writing papers for her. By the time of her IB2 mocks, she was significantly more confident in her ability, and was getting 6s. She ultimately achieved a 7 in her final exams, but the biggest change in her was her self-belief. She continues to love writing, having been fearful of it for many years.

IB English Literature HL

I worked with Q for over a year, helping her with English HL, her HL essay and her oral exams. Q was an extremely bright girl attending a prestigious school in the Netherlands, but English was not her first language and she was struggling with the course intensity. I knew immediately that she was capable of a 7. When I started working with her in her final term of IB1, she was struggling significantly with essay writing, conveying her ideas, and understanding what was expected of her. She was achieving 4-5s but had minimal confidence. Due to coronavirus, she was attending school from home and had more time to work with me. I gradually noticed her confidence increasing, and saw her become increasingly passionate about the subject. Together, we worked to break down the requirements of each component so they felt manageable, and we practised exam technique and essay structuring repeatedly until she felt comfortable. I set her tasks every session that challenged her writing skills. Her HL essay concept was good, but her first draft was confused and unclear. With feedback and encouragement and several redrafts, she produced an amazing piece of work. Her writing skills improved significantly, and she was able to express her ideas succinctly. Q achieved a 7 in her final exams.

IB EE English Literature

L was a highly gifted student, who came to me for help with her EE. She had chosen the book she wished to explore for her EE (coincidentally, one of my favourites), but had no idea where to start or how to go about choosing a central argument. I wanted her work to be entirely her own, so helped her to narrow it down by brainstorming ideas and then planning out different questions, before she settled on her chosen path. Her first draft had some brilliant analysis, but needed redrafting to get to a high level. I realised she was someone who had much say but not enough space in the word count to say it all, so we decided to narrow the focus. Her final EE achieved a high A, and she went on to Oxford University.

iGCSE English and IB English L&L and ToK

J was a German first-language student at an International School in Germany, who I worked with for over two years. He started working with me two months before his Edexcel iGCSE exams as he did not feel confident with exam technique, and wanted to practice essay writing with me. After doing well in his GCSEs, he asked to continue working with me throughout his IBDP. He had brilliant ideas, but often struggled to express them clearly, and this impacted his grades. He was very hardworking, and his effort paid off as he produced great pieces of coursework in both English and ToK. He ultimately achieved a 6 in English (higher than predicted) and 3 core points, amounting to 40 overall.

IB English Lang&Lit, ToK, EE, Art History and University Academic Writing

S was a bright Italian student at an International School in Italy whom I worked with for 2.5 years. She was passionate about Art and wanted to study Art History at University. She wanted help with essay writing, analysis and written expression. S and I built a brilliant partnership, and I guided her through most of the IB, including her oral exams, HL essays, EE, exams and ToK. I understood her writing style and her pitfalls, which included: not explaining what she meant clearly; using words that didn’t exist in English; forgetting to structure her paragraphs; and not having clear theses. She was highly diligent, and with time, overcame all of these. She ultimately did very well in her exams and went on to study at the highly prestigious The Courtauld in London. From here, we continue to work together on her research assignments and papers, and she has never achieved lower than a 1st in any assignment. It has been a joy to see her writing go from strength to strength, which I tell her often. Her writing now, and her creative approach to research, are of a level far beyond her years.

IB English L&L and ToK

G was a kind and intelligent boy at an International School in Oman, whom I worked with for 8 months until the end of his IBDP2. His dream was to study medicine in the UK, but he needed higher grades in English and ToK in order to meet the offer. He had very low confidence, alongside SEN, and him and his parents worried this might affect his grades. He also had an extreme fear of exams. My first priority was building G’s confidence, as I saw this as the greatest barrier to his success. With little faith in himself, he often struggled to even put pen to paper as he was too worried about doing badly to start at all. I tutored him during his retake of his Exhibition in ToK, as well as his ToK essay and English exam preparation. I also worked alongside him and his parents to create a revision plan to help him structure his time in the run up to his exams. I would also dedicate the first ten minutes of every session to a debrief, where I would ask him how he was doing emotionally, how the week had been etc. I saw not only an improvement in his performance, but also in his wellbeing and self-belief. Having been unable to perform well in his mock exams due to his debilitating fear, he had a change in demeanor in his finals. His mother wrote to me and said “I do not want to jinx it, but the scared and insecure G that we saw during mocks has disappeared. So far, he has been very positive and confident when going into the the exam hall. He seems overall happy and in control”. G did very well in his IB and is currently studying Medicine at his top choice UK University.

IB English Lang&Lit, EE, ToK

I worked with M for over a year, helping her with English, EE and ToK. She was attending an American School in Spain, and English was not her first language. M was consistently achieving 3s and 4s in English and was hoping to achieve a 5. I felt M was capable of a 5 but she struggled with written expression and analytical skills. I worked with her from the very first stages of her EE through to completion. The topic she chose was challenging, but she was certain she wanted to do it, so I guided her through structuring and researching until she produced a piece of work she was proud of. M struggled to pay attention in class, both at school and with me, and frequently tried to change the subject into informal chats. In order to maintain her focus, I would keep the lessons shorter and more frequent, or would take several breaks. Due to her ADHD, I knew that preparation for coursework would take longer, so I made sure to begin work early, leaving her enough time to practice and revise. We started her ToK essay as soon as the titles were released, and spent several lessons revising ToK concepts before planning the question. She vastly improved her written expression over that year, and her coursework was of a good standard. She began to focus more in the spring term of her IB, and I felt certain that with hard work she could achieve a 6 in English and the 2 core points she desired. Unfortunately for M, Covid-19 meant that the May20 exam session was cancelled, and her school used her work from her first and second year to inform her grade. She achieved a 5 in English – which was higher than her prediction – and 2 core points. She would most likely have achieved a 6 if she had taken the exams. M went to her first choice university, and I continued to tutor her throughout her first year (research writing and structuring).

Hobbies

I practise a lot of sport and am particularly passionate about martial arts. I have practised Muay Thai since 2010, am a 2nd Dan black belt in kickboxing and train as a Thai fighter. I have trained in different countries around the world and with different styles, and continue to train myself and others several times a week. Muay Thai makes me feel powerful and liberated. It is also a highly technical sport and helps with strategy and decision making skills. As a woman in an increasingly unsafe world, I think it is very valuable to train in martial arts. I have also trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Boxing and Krav Maga.

I practise yoga every day, and also run, dance, swim, strength train and do HIIT. Exercising brings me joy, and I do it as much for the health of my mind and as for my body. It allows me to feel balanced, and helps me to think. I also love spending as much time as I can outside, as nature calms me. I like walking and hiking and being surrounded by fresh air.

Aside from sports, I am a very creative person. I write extensively, play the violin, and have written poetry, prose and also contributed to magazines and newsletters. I am also a portrait painter, having created art since I was a little girl. It is hard to find time to paint, but when I can, I find it very healing.

I am also a passionate linguist. I grew up in an international family, surrounded by six languages and speaking four of them. I have since studied many languages, and now have varying proficiencies in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Latin, Yiddish, Ladino, Hebrew, German, Korean and Catalan. Few things bring my more joy than being able to converse with people in their language, especially when travelling, and I find it to be the best bridge between cultures. I struggle to accept language rules at face value, and tend to spend a long time studying linguistics and etymology alongside spoken practice.

I am very well travelled, and have done extensive solo travel. This is one of my greatest joys in life, and I love the freedom of movement of solo travel, but also the ability to forge strong and long lasting connections. My travels and my time living in Asia have made their way into my cooking, which is now inspired by many cuisines. I read as much as possible, and like to maintain a strong knowledge of current affairs and politics, especially regarding the Middle East. I have a particular love of metafictional literature, especially Latin American, Spanish and German metafiction, as well as mid-20th Century poetry in translation. I write research papers for my own enjoyment, and have an academic interest in the intersection between psychoanalysis, trauma studies, and the literature of genocide and diaspora.

Testimonials

“I have known Mathilda for 1 year, through her being recommended to tutor my son through his English GCSE exams. My son was achieving level 3 and 4 in his English language and Literature and hated the subject with a passion…literally within a few weeks, he suddenly became enthused with the subject and is now achieving 6 and 7 levels. Mathilda is an absolute delight to deal with and is a very focused and bright individual, clearly with great communication skills and a very good work ethic. She has not missed one week’s tutoring and no matter what is going on in her life she always finds time (even at unsocial hours) to make sure she fits in the lesson. She is extremely flexible and has just started adding another hour to help him with his French.”

Parent of GCSE English Language and English Literature student

“Mathilda has been tutoring my two children through their International Baccalaureate in English Language and Literature since 2019. Mathilda is a natural born teacher, able to impart her enthusiasm for language with her students and make their learning experience fun and fulfilling. She is highly engaging, patient and always well prepared. Through Mathilda my children have both grown enormously in confidence and improved their English skills dramatically. My daughter went from a grade 4 to grade 7 in two years with Mathilda. A girl who hated writing, with significant language issues, and is now a senior writer for her university newspaper. To this day, she attributes her love of writing to Mathilda. On a personal level, through my interactions with Mathilda, I have always found her to be highly professional, giving regular feedback and very flexible in organising her schedule. She is always cheerful and positive, and my children have always looked forward to their lessons with her. […] any student who has Mathilda as a teacher will be extremely fortunate.”

Parent of English Language & Literature HL/SL student

“B has surprised us in his overall appearance with the two exams he has completed. I do not want to jinx it, but the scared and insecure B that we saw during [English] mocks has disappeared. So far, he has been very positive and confident when going into the the exam hall. He seems overall happy and in control. I am forever grateful for everything you have done for B this year and for us both getting to know you not only as a tutor, but also as a friend. You are amazing. If you are still teaching IB two years from now, I will already from now ask that you tutor K for TOK and English.”

Parent of IB English Lang&Lit and TOK student

“Very happily I got 43 in total and a 7 in English, which I never got in the 2 years except for the times you marked my work. I believe that your lessons have been massively helpful, thank you!”

IB English Lang&Lit student

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  • SEN Experience