Hello, and welcome to the Qualified Tutor Podcast, the podcast that brings you the latest in the world of tutoring EdTech and education and hopefully inspires in us a big change that each and every one of us is capable of.
Qualified Tutor is an industry-leading tutor training organisation and an online tutoring community for 1000s of tutors around the world. This podcast is the voice of this community, where we aim to hear from tutors, teachers, entrepreneurs, coaches, business experts, students, tutor printers, and more from the world of tutoring about what inspires them every day, how they can help tutors like you and what they’ve learned about tutoring along the way.
The question is, what will you learn today?
Ludo Millar 1:10
Hello and welcome to the 144th episode of the Qualified Tutor Podcast. My name is Ludo Millar, the host of this podcast. Welcome back to regular listeners, welcome to any of you for whom this is your first time listening to the Qualified Tutor Podcast and a very, very warm welcome to our guest today, Roshan Daryanani. Roshan, welcome to the podcast.
Roshan Daryanani 2:38
Thank you so much. It’s lovely to be here. I mean, from the moment we’ve spoken, you’ve always been so generous and so kind. So I’m really happy to be here and excited to chat.
Ludo Millar 2:49
Yeah I mean, I think you know, of all the guests I’ve ever had, you’ve prepared me the best. Roshan sent me this lovely list of things that she could discuss things, that she’d like to discuss, things that she thought might be useful to our audience. So this is going to be a wonderful conversation here. I think – I hope – I’ve picked on the strand that will be most applicable to you guys, our listeners today. But yeah, Roshan is – some of you may well have come across Roshan in the many hats and guises that she takes – but if you haven’t come across her, you’ll be amazed at everything that she’s done and that she does currently do in her role as a tutor or as an author, as a content creator as a, you know, whatever you name it in the education and learning space and Roshan has probably been there and done that.
But as a little background, just so that we know where Roshan is coming from today and kind of placing a bit of context of that, Roshan grew up in Tenerife, Spain, I believe, and moved to London in 2008. And since then really has taken on several roles and education as I mentioned through her uni days and into her professional career. So a qualified teacher and Maths, Biology and Spanish tutor with over seven years experience including with children with SEND, a content creator, Youtuber with 1000s of views and author of two books and blogger on Medium with over I think it’s over 200 articles, isn’t it Roshan, and designer and innovator and really a whole host of other skills and experiences.
So I would say it’s the true meaning of the term ‘portfolio career’, Roshan, maybe you do or don’t agree with that, I’m not sure but yeah, so really a lot of places that Roshan is coming from today and we’re going to try and boil it down to a few key aspects really about how you bring your unique flavour to every tutoring session. Now. regular listeners will know that there is a segment we tend to begin with about harking back to the old school days of our guests. Now, Roshan has actually been able to locate some school reports, although I don’t know the content of them. So this is the first time I’m hearing them just as it is for you guys. So Roshan, please do give us a little flavour of what it is that your school teachers thought and said about you way back when.
Roshan Daryanani 5:22
Well first of all, thank you for that lovely intro, Ludo. You made me feel very proud. You painted a great picture there. And yes, I was really happy to be able to find these reports. And I think thanks to my parents who’ve done a great job of keeping these throughout the years. So I’ll just read out a little segment, which I think summarises them. I was that annoying kid who got really good- I was, you know, academically capable, this is what it says. So it says, “Roshan is a serious but very hardworking and dedicated person. She still knows how to enjoy herself, however. And she socialises well with other members of the class. She’s academically very able. And she sets high standards for others to aspire to”. I thought that was great. It’s like I don’t know who you’re talking about [LAUGHS]. But yeah, that was one of my favourite comments.
Ludo Millar 6:11
That is one of the finest school reports, your parents must have been intensely proud.
Roshan Daryanani 6:18
Proud. Yes. Yeah. And this is a very kind feature you’ve chosen.
Ludo Millar 6:25
So do you remember that as a pattern from your school days? That teachers were very happy to have you in their class?
Roshan Daryanani 6:33
Yeah, what’s interesting is that, yes, I think academically, it was always about the academics. But it’s interesting, there’s a mix there with different teachers saying slightly different things. And I think, it was very much about the relationship with each teacher, which brings us to what we’re talking about today. And also, I found that although I did really well at school, I didn’t really feel prepared for the real world when I left at all. So even at uni, I think, when it came to actually dealing with real things, I didn’t feel prepared and that fed into my tutoring later on.
Ludo Millar 7:09
Why do you think that you didn’t feel prepared, even though you were top of the class, front of the class, whatever [way] you want to look at it? Why do you think then that still didn’t prepare you?
Roshan Daryanani 7:25
Yeah, first of all, I should say, also, this was Tenerife. So it was a tiny school. So it’s very easy to be tough. I feel like that’s a little disclaimer there. But also, I just feel this and I feel, I hope, that many educators will resonate with this, that a lot of the content that we learn at school, we don’t really use on an everyday basis, right. Case in point, when you said, this was your 144th episode, classic Maths tutor, my first thought was that, “Oh, 12 squared” [LAUGHS]. And, you know, actually times tables that you can use, but there’s so much that we do add a new trigonometry, or certain aspects of science or things like that, which they don’t use every day. And so that’s been one of the many things I’ve been reflecting on, which is about kind of the how we teach, but also, the what, you know, what we teach is not really something that they can use every day. And I feel like that’s a part of the educational system that really needs to change.
Ludo Millar 8:22
Yeah. So that’s something that clearly was imbued in you from from the early days, and you, I’m sure, learned a lot from the teachers that you had as a child, what do you think, then, is the kind of why? What is the force, the mission behind where you are today? And why you do what you do?
Roshan Daryanani 8:44
That’s such a great question for anyone to ask themselves, whether they’re a tutor or not, or whatever aspect of education they work in. So I think kind of on a surface level, obviously, my why is helping my students to make progress, helping them value their strengths. You know, filling in gaps in their knowledge, and also helping them enjoy their sessions. That’s really important to me. But there’s a much deeper and stronger why beneath that which has evolved over the years, I would say. And it is to help them learn what I wish I would have learned at school in whatever little ways I can do that. And that is, again, I said about what they learn, but also the way they learn it.
So some of the skills I wish I learned are simply just having a much better attitude towards making mistakes and just realising that they’re normal. Learning to trust your intuition, actually questioning things deeply and not just accepting everything that you’re told. Having that whole different attitude to learning, which I think some of our teachers gave us and that’s something I strive to give them a flavour of, even if it’s limited contact time in the week, right? I’m hoping that that will make a little bit of a difference. And I do feel like the school system isn’t really structured, unfortunately, to help give us these things.
Ludo Millar 10:05
Do you think you knew that when you were at school?
Roshan Daryanani 10:08
That’s a great question. I don’t think so, no. I think I only realised it when I went to uni, and actually started reflecting on it when I was in school that very much kind of going with the flow. I think I realised that maybe, yeah, around the time I was 18-19, is when I started thinking about it.
Ludo Millar 10:24
Why? Because that was the time when you had to take charge of your own learning suddenly, or was it something else?
Roshan Daryanani 10:30
I think it might have been that, yes. So it was a bit of that. And, you know, where it was a very different learning environment, and everything was a lot more independent. And then it was because I started thinking about actually going into education. So I explored a lot of alternative educational programmes and these very unusual schools where students worked on everything they have to do. And I just thought they were really interesting. And I wondered why mainstream teaching is all pretty similar. But it was really interesting to find these alternative schools and different ways of thinking and different ways of learning.
Ludo Millar 11:06
Yeah, it’s a funny one for tutors and teachers to grapple with, isn’t it, because tutors and teachers are often mostly adults. And they’ve been through that learning journey themselves already. And they’ve reached a point where they understand some of the deeper meanings of learning and some of the ways in which, you know, learning what it can do in a broader sense. But often, the people that you are teaching or tutoring are not there yet. They’re getting there. They’re on their way there, they were at a position that you were in, you know, 10, 15, 20, 30, 50 years ago. And I often find this my duty, even though I know I need to put myself in the student’s shoes on understanding the broader point or purpose of learning, it can sometimes be hard when they don’t see it the way that you do. So I think that the way that you make learning fun, and perhaps subconsciously show them the value of learning, without them maybe realising it is such a good way for them to take that step from one to the next. And I I wonder, then, whether you well, in one sense, whether you agree with what I’ve just said, but also not wishing to put words in your mouth, what do you really see as the point of tutoring? What can it do for a child?
Roshan Daryanani 12:33
Yeah, again, a question that I think everyone who has ever worked in education should ask themselves, right, because I have to say that people who work in this field, whether they work in schools or elsewhere, they’re really dedicated to doing the best that they can and love their students. So I would say, do you mean the the point of tuition, as opposed to, for example, their learning at schools? Are there other kinds of learning that they do? Yeah, I think again, it’s not the fault of teachers, but I feel like the school system isn’t structured to give us a lot of those things that we need. And so for me, a lot of the tuition is is about the relationship between the student and the teacher. And I hope that what I’m doing there is just kind of modelling. Again, all the things that I would have liked to have learned and the way that I’d like to have your day, just because there’s so much more freedom as a tutor in that, you know, in the hour and a half, the hour that you have to choose activities to have jokes in there, to get to know the student a little bit. And I find that the stronger the relationship I can build with a child and especially because, you know, you can get to know them over a year, at least four months, the better the sessions go.
So I think the point there is for the student to realise that there’s lots of different ways of learning that can be fun, but it doesn’t have to be kind of just absolutely practising things to pass a test, but that there can be a lot more to it. And I just think that the tutoring allows for that because of the way it’s set up, especially one-to-one tutoring, but even small group tutoring allows for students to see a completely different way of learning.
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Ludo Millar 14:31
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Chris Nicholson 14:36
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Ludo Millar 15:11
So, could you give us a little insight then Roshan over all of your years of tutoring and of the learning environment about some of the ways that you keep your sessions light and fresh and unique?
Roshan Daryanani 15:25
Yeah, yeah, thank you. It’s so nice to share these, I have to say I absolutely cannot take credit for them. And it’s come from years of seeing what other people do and stealing from them.
Ludo Millar 15:35
A mark of a good professional, isn’t it??
Roshan Daryanani 15:37
Exactly, yes, that’s what they say. Yes, quite, it is on my CV, as well as stealing ideas from other people. So I would say there’s a few key things that I thought would be, I hope will be, helpful to share. One is to start out, I would say, it’s really important for things to be, for whatever to be, sustainable. So when I was doing my PGCE, when I was doing my teacher training, I found these amazing teachers I was working with, who were working to make every lesson outstanding. And I admired that so much, but I was absolutely incapable of doing it. So I also saw a lot of burnout, right. And so I think it’s taken me a long time to realise that what works for the students is also what works for you. So I think it’s really important to use what’s out there, instead of trying to reinvent reinvent the wheel in every lesson. That’s not going to happen. And so I think the two main websites that I use are the Tes website, and also Twinkl I’ve been using recently, quite a lot.
And so to give you an idea of the kind of resources I use, one of them is Tarsia Puzzles. Have you ever come across them? You have? Yeah. Yeah. So they’re quite nice. They’re very simple. You print them out and there are these puzzle pieces. And you have to match a key word with a definition. So quite good for science, or anything like that, where you’ve got to learn a lot of keywords. And they’ve actually been surprisingly popular recently. And I think it’s interesting, right? We live in such a digital world. But actually, I’ve noticed that even older kids still really enjoy actually making a puzzle and doing it in a competitive way. So these puzzles actually, were so useful to me, at a course I was teaching recently at a school. So this was October half term and I was teaching 15 year old boys, who would, you know, they would have loved to be anywhere but a classroom at 9am in the morning.
And so I realised that for the first day, I needed to do something more engaging, and I gave them these puzzles. And I think it was the competitive nature of them, but also having something in front of them where they were looking at the screen. They love them, you know, and they went from literally falling asleep, to actually being really excited about this. And so I think the competitive nature of it, or having something analog, having something a little bit different, and they seem to love- spot the mistakes is something that’s been really popular as well, and they have a fine use on Twinkl all the time. Kids love to spot mistakes. And the nice thing about these is that you can spot the factual mistakes, but also grammar mistakes. And so it allows for students who are still, you know, finding the topic difficult, but at least they can build their confidence a bit by spotting a punctuation mistake or something like that.
So that’s been another interesting one. And recently, I’m looking at seasonal quizzes, puzzles, things like that, just anything that will lighten the mood of it and get the students engaged. That’s always a great way to start. I think this is some of the things that have helped me.
Ludo Millar 18:40
Because there’s so many ideas in there really. Yeah. And I love those [ones] to make it sustainable, make it engaging and kind of lighten the mood. I think, yeah, so often, tutoring takes place just after school hours and a student if we think about the actual context and the reality of a tutoring session, it’s often at the end of the school day. We all remember going to school, we felt tired after the end of the school day, there’s lots that’s happened at school. You’re growing up, you’re under pressure, you’re, you know, trying to make friends. So lightening the mood is a great, great way I think to start that because, as you say, children do love learning. No child doesn’t want to know things and to get better at things. It’s just the way that you present it. And I think giving them that really nice, easy, low-hanging fruit way for them to feel like they’re improving and also to improve is such a key way to get them onside. And also if you can get them on side then they’re going to go to their mum or dad or whoever, their guardian, and blabber away about how much they enjoyed that session because they got to do this, this and this and they got to play this so you’re actually getting the parent or guardian or teacher on side as well. Did you find that you- how much of a relationship did you have with the parent in the tutoring environment?
Roshan Daryanani 20:06
Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s so important, I think, I do have a pretty strong relationship with a lot of the parents, especially the students I’ve had for many years. And I also think that’s really useful for teachers, because then they can, especially when you’re getting to know the student, they can tell you things you need to know. In many ways, I’ve been really lucky with the students I have. And so mostly, I found it really useful. And I often learn from the parents. And yeah, it’s a different thing. It’s another difference, I think, you know, compared to people who work in schools, I think. We often have a lot more of a relationship with the parents, at least that’s what I’ve found, in my experience.
Ludo Millar 20:47
Yeah, yeah. But you mentioned to me when you sent that first great kind of resume almost of what you could bring to the podcast and one of the other things that really caught my eye there was this idea about encouraging students to return to every session with enthusiasm, or at least, if not actively, then subconsciously making them want to return every session. Could you give us some of your tips there about how you are able to get students returning every session with enthusiasm?
Roshan Daryanani 21:27
Yes. And again, this is my aim. It’s not something I always achieve. Such a great feeling when it goes right [LAUGHS]. But I think keeping things real, relating it to their interest, and also keeping it humorous. So let me give you some examples of this. One is, for example, I think I mentioned this to you Ludo, one of the things I did is set them a little challenge. This is for my Maths students. So when they go to the supermarket, they can design their own cookies, but the ingredients they buy have to be under a certain budget, or they have to find items that have been discounted by around 25%, little challenges like that, which they have to do in everyday life.
I occasionally, when I had more time, sent them little challenges with a post. So they loved a Maths advent calendar, where they had a little Maths puzzle every day. But again, I think, like I said before, it is about keeping it sustainable – those are not things you can do every day. So I think on an everyday basis, it’s just about finding the humour in little things. So for example, I was really sick last week. And I had to keep muting myself during lessons to blow my nose. So I just made a joke about it. And, you know, I just joked about how, you know, this was a particularly well designed Maths question, and had made me really emotional, or a game called Tissue Paper Basketball, which I was really bad at at first, but which, and it sounds like we’re wasting time, and my husband asked me how much learning you’re actually getting done, which is, I think, really important actually, because when you are yourself and are a little bit goofy with them, you’re modelling that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to be imperfect. And I think that I found that when they’re relaxing that way, the learning is a lot easier. So I think it’s actually important that it’s maybe it’s my defense, just having fun.
And the other thing that I’ve been trying to do recently, and ironically, I have a lot to say about this, but it’s about talking less in sessions. I don’t know if you’ve thought about this but I think my aim right now is to try and talk less because I think we have a tendency to go in and rescue students, you know, when they don’t know an answer, which is always going to happen often, right? And it’s difficult for us to allow more silence and to encourage them to do the talking. And I think what it’s made me think about is having these little guideposts where, for a period of time, what I’m going to do is focus on just allowing them to talk more. For example, I could change that guidepost. So maybe in a few months’ time, it might be focused on how do I get them to ask more questions or feel better about making mistakes, but there’s one about talking less that’s been really useful because they don’t talk all the time and they actually come back and they know that it’s okay to just explore and they know that their first answer isn’t going to be the one that they have to go with, that kind of thing.
Ludo Millar 24:36
Yeah, I love that focus on doing it together. Not feeling that they need to worry about making mistakes with being the ones who have to create and initiate and activate almost rather than, as you say the tutor prompting them first for the right answer. If there’s a moment of silence, I don’t know if you follow cricket, Roshan, or not, if any of our listeners here follow cricket, but the England cricket team’s revival in recent months has all been down to a change in attitude in which the coach and the captain have said, “If you make a mistake, even if you make a series of mistakes across a number of matches, you won’t get dropped, you won’t get criticised, you won’t get, you know, whatever it is”. And I think that’s allowed them to play with the freedom and their results have improved. And I think it’s exactly the same as the learning environment. If they feel pressured about making a single mistake, then they squeeze, they – what’s the word? – they kind of contract almost in both mind and body. And I think if you allow them to be happy to have made a mistake, and actually to revel in that, and maybe to create a little game out of the mistake they’ve made, or as you say, to create a fun little activity out of the mistake they’ve made and not see it as a kind of red marker pen moment.
I think there are such useful tips there coupled with your philosophy around learning which shines through really, really strongly. So thank you very much for spending the time detailing that.
Ludo Millar 26:05
And now, a brief word from one of two guests last week, Lucy Toghill, whose episode with her son Thomas, you can catch after this.
Lucy Toghill 26:27
What I’ve enjoyed most about being a guest on the Qualified Tutor Podcast is actually speaking with like-minded people, which is so rare these days, and having the opportunity to spread awareness about Tourette Syndrome itself. What I’ve learned about myself, and the Tourettes Action charity, from the podcast is really that we have a lot of knowledge and expertise and support to offer people. So please do go to our website and check out what we have to offer people and find the resources that you can access. If there was one thing that I would say to any future guests doing a podcast with Qualified Tutor, it’s use this fantastic opportunity to educate the wider community and share your expertise and knowledge to create a world where we are all working together.
Ludo Millar 27:15
We’d love to know finally, Roshan, as a final question, as it so often is, what’s next for you? What’s next for Roshan Daryanani?
Roshan Daryanani 27:24
Great, thank you for asking that. I think at the moment, my focus, like I said is, you know, to tutor full time, but what I’m trying to do as well is work on really creating a separate space where I can teach students the skills I wish I learned. And right now and for the foreseeable future, I think that the focus for me is going to be on teaching them skills around money. So, what is a credit card? How do you open a bank account? What influences you’re spending? Things like this, and there’s a course I run over the holidays a couple of times, where I’ve taught students about these things, and it’s been really enjoyable for me, and I hope for them as well. So I hope to take that forwards. I also have these YouTube videos for my older students about these monetary concepts as well. And so that’s the project I’m currently working on. And I’m really excited about where it’s gonna go.
Ludo Millar 28:23
What a lovely place to go. In fact, listeners, you have a wealth of places to head to next, roshandaryanani.com, you can connect with Roshan on LinkedIn, as I mentioned before Roshan is an author as well. So if you head to Amazon or really to any published book sites, then you can find Roshan on there. And finally, if blogging is more of your thing, as I said, Roshan has published over 200 articles on Medium, so you can head to medium.com/@Roshan.Daryanani, all of those links will be in the show notes below. But if there is one place for, or one way for listeners to get in touch with you straight after this Roshan, what would that be?
Roshan Daryanani 29:07
I think the website is probably the best bet, because everything’s on there.
Ludo Millar 29:12
Awesome. Well, that will be at the front and centre then of the show notes that you can find after this listeners. Thank you so, so much for joining us for this episode. This is as I said, our 144th episode, and we are very much looking forward to next week as well. Where we will be speaking to Meera Vasudeva about- she is a former head of English in a school in London, and has set up wonderful huge Facebook groups for English tutors to share resources and ideas. So we’ll be talking a little bit about the power of communities and groups and how we can learn together in this online world as educators. But Roshan, for one final time, thank you very, very much. I hope you enjoyed talking a little bit about your background, your career and what you do.
Roshan Daryanani 30:01
Thank you so much. It was such a lovely experience. You’re a great host.
Ludo Millar 30:07
Thank you for ending on that, Roshan. I imagine becoming a podcast host is probably next on your list as well [LAUGHS] – I’m sure it would come to you very naturally.
Roshan Daryanani 30:18
If I was to do it, then I’d definitely come to you for some tips.
Ludo Millar 30:22
It’s actually funny though, being a podcast host and being an online tutor, or being a tutor in-person anyway, but the two are not too dissimilar. We’ve often talked on this podcast before about how a tutor is kind of performing almost in a session and bringing their energy and leading the discussion and that kind of thing. So actually, for those of you listening out there, obviously, I would never encourage you to set up your own podcasts, you must just come and listen to me [LAUGHS]. But if you do want to set one up, I guarantee you’ve made a good start already in being a podcast host. So just one to think about as we end there. But no, a real, real, real pleasure to talk to you Roshan. And I’m sure it won’t be the last time on this podcast.
Roshan Daryanani 30:51
Great. I look forward to it.
Ludo Millar 30:55
Okay, thanks everyone. Cheerio. Thank you so much for tuning in and we’ll see you next time.
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