University of Strathclyde - MSc Physics
Hi, my name is Rafael and I’m from Glasgow. I spent two years studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge (Emmanuel College) before transferring to the University of Strathclyde and completing my master’s degree in physics. This included a year as an exchange student at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
Since then I’ve been an English teacher in cram schools in Taiwan, a trainee deck officer on an oil tanker in the Atlantic, and briefly an assistant cheesemonger. I finally decided that teaching is what I like best, and I’m now a full-time online tutor, specialising in maths and physics from GCSE up to A Level.
The first thing I do is work out exactly what a student’s goals are, then build a plan to achieve them. Involvement from parents is very welcome at this stage. I want students to enjoy my lessons as they learn, so I will offer regular encouragement and praise a student as they improve.
If the goal is a good grade in an upcoming exam, going through past papers is the most efficient approach. My favourite method is to have a student explain their thought-process as they go through a question - then I gently guide them towards finding the answer themselves, rather than just giving it to them. This lets me teach good mental habits for problem-solving, which is such a crucial skill for when you meet something unexpected in a test.
I also try to instill good exam technique. I’ve taken many exams in my life, and I know that being able to deal with the pressure makes a huge difference in how well you do. I’ll teach students not to rush frantically into the paper, but instead to answer questions steadily and methodically, keep an eye on the time, and always check the other side of the question paper!
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