Something to share – it is about A-level Literature…

I know teaching Literature is tough and there is a lot of backend work. I have made an effort to read a new text just to teach one or two students. Take for example the play by John Webster, “The Duchess of Malfi” which is what I am going to plow through to help my two students.

I am grateful that I am able to choose only those students who appreciate the hard work put in by Literature tutors like myself. Instead of engaging in aggressive bargaining and expecting to pay ‘O’ level rates for A-level literature tuition, they are even willing to accept my help when I tell them I am unable to tutor all the texts, They are thankful and appreciative and as they gain confidence and their writing improves, I am similarly inspired and touched by their trust in me and commitment to improving their grades. This way we form a team, one that is motivated and dynamic, committed to helping the student do his or her best.

Teaching Literature entails multiple components:

  • Understanding the text on a literal level
  • Appreciating the contexts and texts (approaching the text with Historicism)
  • Analysing the themes, issues, characters, structures, styles, etc
  • Using relevant literary theories to approach the text
  • Appropriating the literary vocabulary and
  • Answering essay questions on the text
Answering questions is a whole new area. I believe that students should make it a practice to answer questions.
Next year, I will be expanding the list of titles I do to include “Waterland” by Graham Swift, and rereading “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen, Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence” etc.
I want to let my students know this – “thank you for being reasonable and trusting me to help you. I give you my assurance that despite my busy teaching schedule, I will do my best to help you. I need some time and for my JC 1 students, if I cannot find the time to help you with one of the texts this year, I will definitely get to it by early next year.” So far teaching Literature is like climbing Mount Everest but the view gets more marvellous as I scale the heights. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.