After a difficult, but very wonderful year, I have discovered that one question holds the key to my freedom. That question is: ‘Where do I participate?’

For example, I don’t follow current affairs. When my eldest son asks me why I don’t read the news, I tell him, ‘Because they don’t need me.’ 

I realised years ago that if I were to follow all the crime, tragedy and celebrity gossip that gets reported, it would exhaust me, and make no difference to the world. There are better places for me to put my energy. There are better places for me to participate.

To participate means to ‘take part in’.

There are stories happening all around us. Stories about success and failure. Stories about religion and gender roles. Stories about mental health and the future of education. We are mired in stories, and they are as predictable and as arbitrary as any Netflix series. Season 3. 

Being intentional about which stories we take part in might be the most important choice we make.

This week I had a long chat with a social worker who started out as a nursery nurse. She admitted that she had known many good practitioners who became jaded and cynical over the years. Her story felt too familiar.

Mental health is the pandemic of our time. Accountability is the agenda that oppresses our education system. Attendance has become the next political football. And good people are broken by both ends of the stick. Our stories are no longer supporting us. They are defining us. They are breaking us.

It can sometimes be hard to see, but we can choose which of these stories to participate in, which to opt-out of, and which to change.

What I love about tutoring is that we’re all a bunch of nerds and rebels. We are heart-lead idealists who are determined to leave this world better than we found it. Ex-teachers, professionals and university students who choose to help others along on their paths. Parents and carers who do not wait for permission to invest in supporting their young people. Students of every age who are proving that learning really is without limits.

This week, as we gear up to Love Tutoring Festival 4 – the biggest hybrid celebration of tutoring ever – I am fiercely reminding everyone involved that at our events there are no ‘attendees’.

We are all participants. 

I am beginning to realise that tutoring touches everyone in its own quiet way.That’s every student, parent or tutor. Every school leader, teacher, social worker or policy maker. Every person who needed tutoring but didn’t know it, wanted tutoring but couldn’t afford it, had tutoring but didn’t want it.

At Qualified Tutor we are obsessed with one clear vision and mission: we are raising standards in tutoring together. We have made immense progress in the past four years, but tutoring is still not where it should be.

We don’t ask much. Only that everyone whose life is touched by tutoring comes together to give this profession the love it needs.

 Are you willing to participate?


This post was not written by AI. It was written by Julia Silver, NPQH.