QUESTION 01 | 08
When did you develop an interest in your chosen field and in private tutoring?
Hareef — I have always had an aptitude for the sciences and maths and this developed into an interest in medicine when I tried to make sense of what made people around me ill, especially family members.
I developed an interest in private tutoring after helping my younger brother (1 year younger) with his GCSEs. It sounds weird but experience is the best experience. The fact that I had recently gone through the process and succeeded and had the benefit of hindsight made me a particularly suitable candidate to help him.
QUESTION 02 | 08
Tell us more about the subject you teach, the topics you like to discuss with students (and possibly those you like a little less).
Hareef — I mainly teach maths. No matter the ability of the student, I always start with the basics of algebra and numbers because even some of the best candidates don't truly appreciate the concepts. I think one of the most interesting topics to discuss with students is how maths will help them in life. Many students find learning trigonometry and the quadratic formula pointless. I also teach chemistry and I can teach biology and physics. During my school days, biology was probably the subject that I liked the least. Whilst I found human/cell biology interesting, almost half of the course was about other topics such as plants, diversity and ecosystems, so I struggled to enjoy it. That being said, I really enjoy teaching human biology. It is very amusing to teach the digestive system because no matter the ability of the student, 99% of the time, they won't know the anatomical location of the stomach - I didn't either until I studied anatomy.
QUESTION 03 | 08
Did you have any role models; a teacher that inspired you?
Hareef — My role model was my secondary school Latin teacher - Edward Hatton. He was once a pupil at the school and because of this, he was able to relate to pupils in a way that most teachers couldn't. He was fond of finding innovative ways to help pupils learn, coming up with numerous rhymes, mnemonics and funny stories to help our learning. He always treated pupils with respect and never looked down on them or patronised them. All things I hope to emulate as a tutor.
QUESTION 04 | 08
What do you think are the qualities required to be a good tutor?
Hareef — First and foremost, a good tutor has to be knowledgeable and understand the subject they are teaching. You can't possibly hope to help another comprehend topics you can't explain. That being said, without various interpersonal skills a tutor can't pass on the knowledge they possess. A good tutor will be warm and friendly while maintaining a level of professionalism because students respond better to someone they can trust. Patience and empathy are especially important because different students work at different speeds. The ability to see things through the student's perspective helps a tutor figure out the best way to aid the student.
QUESTION 05 | 08
Provide a valuable anecdote related to your subject or your days at school.
Hareef — Michael Jordan is regarded as one of the best basketball players ever. He once said, "I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed". People think gifted/talented people can put in less time and effort but this is far from the truth. Michael Jordan could get those game winning points because he had practised that last second shot several times and he most certainly didn't get it in the basket every time. I'll relate this to my subjects. I was lucky enough to do 4 A-Level subjects that I enjoyed and had an aptitude for. However, I still had to work hard and I still experienced failure at times. My A-Level certificates won't mention the times I would score 2 grades below my predictions; the supported teaching sessions outside of class time I attended to get my grades back up; the amount of frustration I had with subjects I supposedly liked; the times I would read a textbook in my leisure time; or the number of past papers I completed.
QUESTION 06 | 08
What were the difficulties or challenges you faced or still facing in your subject?
Hareef — When studying medicine you have to accept that whilst there is a lot you must know, you can't know it all. However, it's important that even in unfamiliar situations or when dealing with the unknown, you can still utilise the knowledge you do possess and the information presented to you - just like with difficult exam questions!
QUESTION 07 | 08
Do you have a particular passion? Is it teaching in general or an element of the subject or something completely different?
Hareef — My passion is sport. It is a great way to stay fit and healthy and sport teaches you many skills that are transferable to being a doctor, tutor and a student.
QUESTION 08 | 08
What makes you a Superprof?
Hareef — My lessons are Super :-)