I enjoy helping pupils to make the most of their potential and to get the best examination grades, if that is their aim. I also enjoy helping pupils who have 'lost their way' in their maths studies to regain their confidence and get back on track.
- Which subject(s) do you teach?
I teach mathematics from primary to GCSE, A-level and the International Baccalaureate (Mathematical Studies and Standard).
- Tell me about your qualifications.
I went up to Cambridge University, UK on a scholarship to read mathematics. I then went to Westminster Training College, Oxford, where I got my Teacher's Certificate.
- How much do you charge?
My fees are £25 to £35 per hour, depending on the distance travelled to the student's home, or to the school, and the level of tuition. I usually teach one-to-one because in my experience that is much more effective than joint tuition.
- Where do you teach?
I usually teach at the student's home, but occasionally in the school if that is more convenient. My most distant students (I live in Kilburn, North London) have been in Central London, north of the Thames, and in Essex. I recently had one young pupil who came to my flat, accompanied by her mother.
- When are you available?
I tutor mostly between 5.00 and 9.00 weekday evenings, but sometimes also during the day or at weekends (usually nearer examination time when pressure is greatest.)
I also tutor in the summer holidays, and other holidays, if required.
- Which ages and levels do you teach?
My students are from 10 years old to A-level and the International Baccalaureate.
- Describe your arrangements for online tutoring.
I would only consider online tutoring in special circumstances.
- Do you have a personal message for students?
Anxiety and lack of confidence are the worst weaknesses because they undermine everything else. This is often increased by textbooks which do not tell you why each topic important, so students easily feel baffled and discouraged. I help students to realize that although mathematics is often difficult, it is meaningful and they can learn to be confident, and successful.
- What kind of experience do you have?
I taught in private schools and state schools in the '60s and early '70s and then became a puzzle composer and game inventor and then a writer, but I kept my interest in teaching and attended many conferences of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics and the Mathematical Association, and also wrote many articles for their journals, Mathematics Teaching, Mathematics in School, and The Mathematical Gazette. I have also written many popular mathematics books, such as the Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers, the Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Geometry, and You are a Mathematician, as well as a secondary maths course called Mathematics though Problem Solving.
I started to tutor again six years ago.
- Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
- Where and with whom did you train?
I obtained by Teacher's Certificate from Westminster Training College, Oxford.
- Do you belong to any professional organisations?
The Mathematical Association.
- Tell me about some of your current students.
In recent years, two of my students who found mathematics extremely difficult and were consequently extremely anxious and suffering badly, passed the IB Diploma Mathematical Studies examination.
Another of my recent students, having successfully avoided maths teaching at his previous school, responded at our first meeting to my request that he count in 3s, 3-6-9 ... by counting first very slowly to 12 and then also very slowly on his fingers to 14 [!]. He subsequently improved enormously and eventually obtained an A in his GCSE.
At the opposite extreme, I tutored for two years a boy who was so strong that he found normal classroom work boring. Towards the end of the two years he and I wrote together an article about one of his investigations which was published in the Mathematical Gazette.
In between, another student gained a grade 6 on his IB Standard level mathematics, having scored only 4 in his mock exam. He had no particular difficulties but simply wanted to improve his grade.
Mr. Wells has been tutoring my son, Daniel, for the past two years (grades 6 and 7) and I can honestly say it has been a wonderful experience for all of us. Mr. Wells has an innate understanding of maths and he is very eager to help each child to develop his/her own true intuition and understanding of the subject. He measures success by how well the child truly understands the concept. Furthermore, he is sensitive to the fact that different children learn differently.
I can also say that personally, he is a very pleasant man and Daniel really enjoys their time together. He encourages Daniel to think for himself and explore tangents that are interesting to Daniel. By doing so, he keeps the subject interesting and stimulating. I know Daniel will miss his lessons with Mr. Wells and if we could take him back to Atlanta with us, we would certainly do so. Any child that has the opportunity to work with Mr. Wells would be extremely lucky.
Hi Mr. Wells,
I have started writing my essays for High School. For a lot of the essay choices its about a role model who isn't related to you that made a difference in your life. So I have several essays now about how you helped change my life in a mathematical way ...
I just wanted you to know that I consider you as the best role model I've had and that I'm writing about you to most of the schools.
[Full testimonial available on request.]
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