My Answer When Asked Why I Became an Academic Personal Trainer
It’s a Monday night in November. It’s dark outside, in spite of the lengthening days. I’m frantically putting together the final assignment of my undergraduate degree; hastily writing a conclusion, reading and re-reading, editing, painstakingly checking references. Then without warning, and rather unceremoniously, the final full-stop. Upload file. Submit. And that’s it. Done. Finished. The end of an era. What next? Jubilation. Freedom…
Completing my Bachelor’s degree was certainly an exciting and proud moment for me. After nearly two decades of formal education – 13 years of schooling and another 5 years at university – it really felt like a weight had been lifted. No more classrooms, no more libraries, no more late-night coffee, no more essays! But then the dust settled; pause for reflection.
As the old saying goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”. Weirdly, in the months following, I felt a kind of withdrawal. Curiosity continued to gnaw at my brain, staved off only fleetingly by Netflix documentaries and aimless Googling. I started going to the library voluntarily, reading and studying topics just for interest’s sake. Heck, I even started writing my own essays! It was like I had an itch that only learning could scratch. But it was lonely, reading and writing for no one and nothing except my own need to do so. I felt within that I wanted to find my way into education in some capacity, but I wasn’t a qualified teacher. So, how?
“Mate, why don’t you be a tutor?”
A throwaway line, but a monumental one at that. Suddenly a solution presented itself. I could satiate my own need to continue learning while helping others at the same time!
I joined A Team Tuition as an Academic Personal Trainer in May 2020 as an English and History tutor. In my relatively short time with the team so far I’ve had the luxury of immersing myself in the study of novels, poetry, plays, biography excerpts, films, adverts, and documentaries – and not on my own! I have had the good fortune of being able to discuss a range of issues – race, gender, power, humanity, nationhood, morality, history and memory, truth and truth-making, politics, etc. – with my students in a collaborative way. By doing so, we learn about all sorts of things from each other, including different perspectives about various things, and thus we are able to develop our understanding of the world around us.
The chaos of 2020 has taught us that we can’t take everything for granted. But in the face of crisis and adversity, the ongoing importance of education has reaffirmed itself now more than ever. We need to continue to be informed about ourselves, our peers, and humanity the world over so we can keep building the best world for everyone. I became an Academic Personal Trainer because I wanted to play a small part in this process, and I hope to continue to do so into the future.