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.
EIB: Why did you choose to do the IB?
Dara: I chose to do the IB because I was unsure as to what I wanted to study later at university, and so six subjects seemed a great (albeit slightly daunting) way to keep my options open. The IB also strives to provide students with a balanced education, through components like CAS and TOK, both of which seemed like they would be a welcome break to the notorious workload!
What did you enjoy about the IB?
I found the IB very rigorous, and enjoyed the challenge of this; the IB was the perfect opportunity to combine learning and personal growth. I enjoy both pushing myself and learning, and so the IB was the perfect opportunity to combine these. The fact that the IBO is essentially a huge international community was also very appealing to me, because of the connections and opportunities it has provided since my graduation.
What was the most challenging part of the IB?
The IB is famous for its workload – and I was no different from any other student in terms of struggling with it! Being able to organise yourself to allocate your time and energy whilst meeting all the deadlines is essential, but achieving all this takes a lot of effort, commitment and motivation, which was definitely what I struggled most with.
What did you do for your CAS/TOK/EE?
For my TOK presentation, I investigated the factors that make an argument convincing, and how the various ways of knowing (such as reason, emotion, faith and language) influence our perception.
My Extended Essay looked at the extent to which the market failure of the palm oil industry is inevitable. I focused on the ways in which the industry can be classified as a case of market failure, in terms of misallocation of resources, negative externalities and asymmetric information, as well as potential solutions and why they haven’t yet been adopted on a large scale. The most challenging part of my EE was obtaining the data I needed, but I was pleased with the depth of my research, and I even managed to construct a graph to try and predict when our palm oil needs can be met by sustainable sources!
For CAS, I tried to do a variety of short-term and long-term projects to make sure I met all my CAS goals. For Creativity, for example, I continued with weekly piano lessons and practice. For Action, I took up kickboxing, and also completed a Sports Leaders Course and helped to organise sports days at school, as well as assisting in dance and PE lessons. This also contributed towards my Service component, along with the work I did as head of the school’s Dance Committee.
What tips do you have for current IB students?
I would suggest current IB students try to keep on top of their work throughout both the years of the IBDP, so that when it comes to revising for their mock exams and then the official exams at the end of the second year, they can feel more comfortable with content learned at the beginning of the IBDP. I would also say that they should always try to keep in mind that the IBDP is a very challenging programme, but it also only lasts two years, and all the effort they put it will be worthwhile!
Why do you enjoy tutoring?
I really enjoy learning and applying knowledge, and so the opportunity to share this knowledge, combined with helping students in topics that I enjoyed whilst at school, seemed perfect for me. Most students I have worked with have been motivated to improve their understanding and skills, and as a result of their progress being easily measurable, their confidence improves as well. My favourite part of working as a tutor is the balance between the challenge of trying to helping a student achieve their goals, and the satisfaction I feel when they do!
What makes a successful tutor?
A successful tutor is someone who not only loves their subject and helping others, but also understands the different styles of learning that suit certain students. I also find it really important to establish a good relationship with the students I work with, as well as keeping their individual goals in mind at all times, so that we can achieve these in the time-frame we are working with.
What has been your greatest tutoring success?
With every student I have worked with, there has usually been a specific challenge to overcome; a topic they can never get their head around, or a paper they always struggle with. A student of mine recently received his IB results, and most importantly, had obtained the grade we were aiming for all year. I was thrilled that all his hard work had paid off, but his assurance that I had really made a difference made me almost as pleased as when I got my own results!