This isn’t a page put together by a marketing department.
It’s an open and honest story about who we are, how we do things and why.
Sometimes life doesn’t go the way you envisage. By the age of 24, instead of being a paramedic, I was married with 3 young children under 5.
We moved up to Scarborough in North Yorkshire when we were expecting Angel, our youngest daughter.
On one occasion when we came back down here to visit friends it struck me what others in my year group at school had done with their lives. I decided I wanted to do something more with mine.
When we returned to Scarborough, I went into the playgroup which Clara, my oldest daughter attended and asked if I could work there as a volunteer whilst I studied for my diploma in preschool practice.
Thankfully she said yes.
Within a couple of months I was offered the paid role of SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) and was asked to also assist with the planning, policies and procedures for the setting.
Over the coming years, I completed the diploma. Then I continued and did a degree in childcare and education through the Open University.
As my daughter started secondary school, I questioned whether she might be slightly dyslexic. Verbally she was very astute, but her written work looked like it had been created by a much younger child.
At the time Clara was a very quiet child. The school instantly dismissed the idea.
Back then, I think dyslexia was an excuse for being lazy.
She wasn’t giving the teachers any problems, because she was so quiet. It was easier to brush the idea off.
At the time I didn’t have the confidence to fight my corner. So, I decided that if they wouldn’t help her, I would do what I could to help her myself.
Over the coming years I finished my degree but also studied numerous other courses on learning styles, learning difficulties and anything I could get my hands on.
I also worked in mainstream schools, creches, a residential unit for children with autism. In addition, I worked as an NVQ assessor in early years and as a childminder.
I studied, I worked, I grew.
But one of the main things that became apparent was that we are all different. We all learn differently. It is far harder to embrace what we are being taught, if we are not relaxed and open to learning,.
Furthermore: if we do something once, we create a memory. So, for example, if we do a worksheet, that information is lodged somewhere in our mind. If we complete a second worksheet, we are reinforcing that knowledge. But, our brain still only has one place to go to find the information that it needs.
However, if we do a range of different activities, we are creating more memories within our brain. When that information is needed, our brain has more places to go to where it can find the knowledge that it is seeking.
When my marriage finally ended, I lost the house. This meant I also lost the childminding business I had built up. I took a job at a local optician just to pay the bills.
I quickly learned that this was not a job for me long term and I returned to college to study the PTTLS course. This meant I could work with adults in a classroom setting.
Whilst on this course, a friend I made suggested that I had a go at tutoring.
At first my idea was that it would be nothing more than to complement the job at the opticians.
I wasn’t sure what was expected of a tutor, even though by this stage I had about 12 years’ experience working in education.
When I started Clara James Tutoring (2012), it was built upon the following values:
- Lessons needed to be varied, enjoyable, relevant.
- We are all individual and learn differently, and
- As a parent what would I expect from a tutor?
Clara is my oldest daughter, Jamie is my son. The logo is an angel holding a book, Angel is my youngest daughter.
I hope by offering a personal name it will reflect the personal service we deliver and demonstrate we are not a generic brand.
We are different to most other tutoring platforms, but I think that is largely why we have done so well. We haven’t followed the masses; instead, we followed our hearts and our conscience. Everyone is there to be helped. They want to feel important and they didn’t just get in touch to make our bottom line (profits) grow.
Now we not only offer 1 to 1 tutoring in your home (once out of lockdown) and online, we also have a range of mini courses and have a membership group (the Clara James Approach) offering resources for parents to use themselves at home.