Tag Archive | English Literature

Exams are nearly over and another project is underway

So, as many of you know I work as a private tutor. I teach maths, English and science to children, teenagers and people with hopes and dreams. I mostly do maths, which surprises most people with my degree being in English Literature, but I am an absolute maths whiz.

If you were in any kind of education with me, you’ll probably know that exams were easy for me. I got full marks in one AS exam, and 90% in another one, and often it was my coursework that that let me down, so working solely with GCSE students on exams it feels great when I get the positive texts that tell me they think they have gotten around 30-50% on their higher maths paper (especially when some of them sat the Edexcel paper that went viral yesterday!). This may seem a little low, and you may wonder why less than half of the marks is good, but it only takes around 30% to nail a C. And with the six students I put through maths GCSE this year, only two were sitting the exam for the first time in year 11, and the majority of my students speak English as an additional language.

Results day is just over two months away, so nervous as I am, I’m sure my students are definitely worrying more! I’m just hoping that my 100% pass rate stands for everyone’s sake!

Now that exams are getting out of the way (only Paper 2 maths on Monday), I will be throwing myself into the secondary project that I have been working on alongside my tuition. For my primary students in particular, I write all my own work sheets. Often I will work from books designed to complement the National Curriculum at home, but I have developed quite a knack for writing worksheets for both maths and English, for my students in Key Stage 2. I am hoping to put these together on a website that will help parents access work for their children if they are struggling in a certain area, or if they want a challenge.

On top of this, I am planning to write out various analyses to GCSE and A Level texts that are clear and understandable (especially to EAL students), as well explaining how to tackle some of the harder questions on the maths exams – something that many of my students feel the internet is lacking when they have sought help alone.

As well as working with students up to GCSE, I work with students sitting the QTS Numeracy and Literacy tests, and have got quite the stash of worksheets and advice to upload because I know that for many who haven’t done any numeracy work in particular since year 11 they can be extremely difficult.

So if I’m quiet online or in life, just know, I’m probably attached to my laptop somewhere trying to organise all the work I’ve been doing for the last two years into a website, or helping someone’s child tackle a particularly fiendish word problem!


Ten Special Books

This isn’t a post that I planned to publish, but I figured I would anyway. On Facebook tonight a friend requested that I post ten books that were in some way special to me, having been nominated herself to do so, and for me to pass this on (which I did to 3 of my book loving friends who I can’t wait to hear back from!)

So this is my post, all copied and pasted from my Facebook:

1. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – This is the book that made me want to study English Literature at degree level. It’s a novella of about 6000 words, but the way that it details simultaneously postpartum psychosis and women’s oppression is one that really drew me in. I also love the way that she sent this to Dr Silas-Weir, the doctor who prescribed her the “rest cure” (extreme bed rest) with her own condition, something that she describes as sending her to the very edge of insanity, so close she could see over. (I paraphrased, but “Why I wrote The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short and interesting article.

2. Blue by Sue Mayfield – Mostly just because my tatty paperback has been read so many times and it still moves me. There is a moment about 2/3 of the way through that makes me cry every time. I read it for the first time about 8 years ago.

3. Little Face by Sophie Hannah – This is the first Sophie Hannah novel that I read and it has stuck with me. Also, had I never got hooked on this series of books, I would never have picked up The Orphan Choir, which inspired my dissertation!

4. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill – I first discovered the story as a two man play, and when I read the book for the first time I was genuinely spooked. Jenett Humphrey sits in a really interesting place between horror and terror and I also lost sleep over this book.

5. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – This is the book publication of the webcomic she is famous for. I mostly just like the way she describes depression. Also she is hilarious!

6. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling – This probably doesn’t need saying, but I grew up with these books, and they have shaped my life and will go on to shape the lives of my children (etc)! This one gets special mention because it came first!

7. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters – Again, this was a first by a favourite! I love Sarah Waters and all her literary goodness. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Paying Guests!

8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood – This got me hooked on dystopian fiction. I find the whole concept of the handmaids completely interesting. Had I not read this, I don’t think I’d have gotten so enthralled by the genre.

9. Secret Vampire by LJ Smith. I read this in about an hour when I was 11. It was my first vampire novel and probably the reason I didn’t become a Twilight obsessive!

10. Where are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark – My favourite crime writer, this book is actually chilling. It’s the manipulation element that has stayed with me, and whilst I am definitely not a crime writer, I would love to write something that has the impact on me as this did!

(Fun fact, all these are women, I didn’t even realise until I finished!)


Hopefully you can pick up a recommendation or two from these and get a bit more of an idea about me as a person or what I am into. I surprised myself with only on Late Victorian and two Neo-Victorian texts making the list! I decided to make it all fiction.


Comment below with your top 10 (or do me one of them awesome pingback things), and feel free to share this with your own followers/ friends. It would be awesome if we could get this going as a thing on WordPress so us Bilbliophiles can share a word or two!


But until then, I have to bid you all goodnight, it is unusual that you will get 3 posts in such a short space from me, and I do have to sleep now as work beckons me in just 8 hours!

I got a First!

After three years very hard work, and a final semester of “all or nothing”, I am happy to announce that I am now the holder of a First Class Honours degree in English Literature from Edge Hill University. Which makes me very, very, very happy!

Guess who got a first?

Guess who got a first?

All of this means that on the 24th July 2014 I will be graduating alongside some of the best people I have ever met, with the hope of entering the simultaneously scary and exciting world of full time work. I haven’t achieved everything that I had planned for the three years, but I think that is more a reflection on the lack of hours in a day than anything else, because I have achieved so much and have some certificates, photographs and memories to prove it!

And of course I will be back to fill you in on my graduation!