Tutor: Bianca Pellet
IBDP score: N/A
University: Classics and English (University of Exeter); General Linguistics and Comparative Philology (University of Oxford)
Subjects: English A (Literature; Language & Literature); English B; Extended Essay
In our Tutor Interview series we put the spotlight on members of our outstanding tutoring team. From IB graduates to teachers and Examiners, we share their stories and their advice about the International Baccalaureate to help you make your own IB a success.
Why did you choose to do the IB?
I didn’t take the IB as a student, but as a teacher, it chose me! However, I haven’t regretted it for a second and have enjoyed getting to know it – both in terms of individual courses (such as English B, which was the first one I taught) and the diploma programme as a whole.
What did you enjoy about the IB?
I enjoy the interdisciplinary aspect of teaching the IB (which I have now done for 6 years at the time of writing), which helps to make students rounded people, as does its emphasis on critical thinking. The quality of the course content and assessments is also of an extremely high standard and prepares students well for university. Supervising Extended Essays is equally rewarding and really gives insight into student abilities to choose an academically worthy topic, and sustain interest in it over a long period of time.
What was the most challenging part of the IB?
Students do find the scale of the Extended Essay a challenging mountain to climb, as well as getting to grips with referencing and planning long-term (as opposed to working on an assignment that might just last a week or two). But the sense of accomplishment when they have finished doing so is palpable. As an EE supervisor, helping them to refine their topic and stay motivated throughout can also be frustrating! By the end, though, it’s amazing to see how far they have come.
What did you do for your CAS/TOK/EE?
As I had the (mis)fortune to take A Levels instead of the IB (…way back in 2004!), I didn’t do anything like CAS or TOK – but wish I had been given the chance to do so. TOK, or Critical Thinking, is wonderful preparation for the real world (even if you don’t realise it at the time!). I did, however, do many activities during my school years that would have counted as CAS, such as training as a lifeguard and manning a Fairtrade stall at lunchtimes, that I did find fulfilling. I also completed an Extended Essay-style project on The Tempest which I very much enjoyed at the time, as it enabled me to explore a subject I was passionate about in greater depth.