TalentEd’s expert tutors are an integral part of the programmes we run, without their expertise and inspiration we would not be able support disadvantaged students across the country. To celebrate their efforts we will be featuring profiles of some of our tutors, to get to know the people that make it all possible a little better.
After attending art school, Richard went into teaching, working in schools for over thirty years. He is currently finishing up his doctoral studies at the University of the arts and is an active member of the NEU retired members group. Richard is a London-based tutor, working with bright students on the TalentEd programme at Oasis Academy Hadley.
Where are you from?
London, I was brought up in Muswell Hill and educated at a grammar school called Tollington. I recently attended an old Tollingtonian reunion dinner and was amazed that so many people from my era still keep in touch with the school (it’s now called Fortismere).
What initially attracted you to education?
When I left Art School, I went straight into teaching but I left after two terms! I wasn’t trained to teach and wasn’t ready for the classroom. When I returned to reaching in 1980 I had completed a teaching certificate course and felt much more confident about it. I found that I actually enjoyed helping the children I taught to learn.
What is your background?
My father was a bank clerk and my mother was a housewife. Both had left school at fourteen, at the end of their elementary education. In those days, higher education was strictly for the well-to-do. When I left school and went to my local Art School (Hornsey), I was the first member of my family to go to college. I enjoyed studying and decided to go on doing it. I now have two professional qualifications, two BA’s and two MA’s and I am nearing the end of my doctoral studies at the University of the Arts.
Why did you apply to TalentEd?
I taught in secondary schools for thirty three years and it seemed a pity to let my teaching experience go to waste.
What do you enjoy about working with bright students?
I’ve worked with lots of bright students and I find them rewarding to teach because they are able to articulate relevant questions and contribute to group discussions. They can bring new ideas into the group and facilitate more critical thinking around a topic. As a believer in active learning (and a product of it, too) I am always on the look out for ways to encourage active, intellectual engagement with learning.
What do you do in your spare time?
I study for my doctorate at Central St Martins which involves attending seminars, conferences, lectures and tutorials, reading around my topic and writing chapters. I run a weekly life class at the Islington Arts Factory and paint when I get the time. My wife and I learn French at the City Lit because we like to walk in France and where we go nobody speaks much English! We recently walked the Chemin St Jacques (Camino de Compostella) from Le Puy to the Pyrenees. I am an active member of the NEU retired members group and serve as the biodiversity rep for our local park user’s group. When I can, I go bird watching at Rainham Marshes RSPB reserve. And, of course, I try to spend lots of time with my family.
TalentEd’s mission to close the attainment gap for disadvantaged children would not be possible without people like Richard. Our expert teachers inspire and motivate bright students to reach their full potential and self-confidence. If you are interested in becoming an expert teacher with TalentEd, go to www.talent-ed.uk/get-involved/ .