The Office of Pieter Pelgrims

On tutoring

Under the promise that all tutoring material would be available, I embarked on a journey to Sligo, Ireland.

I’m sure they could smell that I reeked of fear, the first time I stood in front of a class of twelve students. This was in 2013, I was young, unexperienced and unprepared for what laid ahead. I learned a great deal and gained a ton of respect for people who do this everyday.

There are a few things you learn immediately like everyone is totally just winging it, all the time. I did get some pointers from a coach, his remarks and my own notes formed the base for this blogpost.


If a student wasn’t interested but kept to himself without disturbing the rest of the class, I didn’t bother getting him to pay attention. Other students deserved my time and attention more.

Active learning

Passive learning went out style long time ago. The teacher speaks and the students listen, that’s old fashioned and not in the good way. Active learning is the answer here!

When a student doesn’t know the answer to a question, don’t leave a silence waiting but move on to another student. Ask the class:

“Who can help? Who knows the answer?”

Which brings us to the actual active learning: students will refresh their own knowledge by explaining it in their own words. The other students will hear the material in a way that is different from the teacher’s explaination. Letting them work in small groups can help you with this as well.

You’ll notice more interaction and participation right away, students will get involved.

Moving around

You can’t win from a screen, move around!

Don’t stand still in the classroom, the screen will always win from the tutor. Walk around and invest in a wireless presenter.


Fewer words per slide!

I think this is a given, the material I had at hand were slides with the exact same amount of information as a page from the textbook. It took me countless hours to rework the slides.

Personal projects

You’re a big resource that is available to your students, encourage them to make use of this: let them bring their own projects to class, the other students might pick something up.

Be a human being

Man up to your faults, admit your mistakes, and admit when you don’t know something. It makes you more human when students notice you’re not always right from the first time either.


I thought the administation that was involved was terrible, but I had a very good group and it was fun. We did two official Oracle exams, the pass rates for my students were 100% and 80%.

02 February 2017