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[January 19, 2014]
Devoted mission to educate [National, The (United Arab Emirates)]
(National, The (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A Briton Clive Power, 42, is the founder of Power Tutoring in Knowledge Village, Dubai. A teacher by profession, the Briton arrived off the plane in September 2004 to help set up the Sheffield Private School in Al Qusais. Then, in 2006, he saw an opportunity to become a professional tutor and Power Tutoring was born. Located in Knowledge Village for seven years, it focuses on English and maths tuition in the UK curriculum. It begins after schools finish as an additional service to the education system.
6am I'm up and ready myself for the day.
7am -9.30am Every Monday I'm in the The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina as I'm a member of the networking group Business Network International (BNI). When I set up the business I was very much relying on network links to help me fit out the classrooms, get the computers in, legal advice, employment contracts and so on, so I joined BNI with the aim of ensuring the people I was dealing with were above board and credible. I wasn't looking to gain money – I was looking to save money by not being ripped off. I've been delighted with it as it works as a brilliant referral system and one I would highly recommend. A couple of years ago it was stated that, in Dubai, referrals and recommendations were bigger business drivers than the internet and I have definitely found that. When you work with children word of mouth is very important ... it is hugely important for us.
10am I catch up with the day's business chatting with the company secretary. Generally I have to give parents a call back to give updates or recommendations on their children's progress. The morning is our downtime when the administration, marketing and bureaucracy is dealt with. The classrooms have to be readied for whatever classes we have that day. We do have one-to-one teaching but mostly it is small groups of three to five.
11am We work with kids from three to 18 years old. That is KG1 right through to the finish. We either help kids that are struggling, stretch kids that need motivating or prepare kids for specific exams such as the Dubai College entrance exam. One of our students was recently accepted into Eton, which was a feather in our cap.
12pm The support staff arrives to ensure our teaching aids are primed and ready. We have 12 employees including seven teachers plus myself. That includes four support assistants that look after the kids before or after the lessons. I have lunch now, something light after a heavy breakfast from The Address Hotel, so probably a shawarma.
1.30pm I have a management meeting followed by a general staff meeting to ensure timetables, assessments and cover is sorted. We can always look after kids if they arrive early or if they cannot be picked up immediately, so we need to make sure there is always people available to cover. We have about 214 children to educate so that is the size of a small school. We are always busy around report time when parents have established where their children are in the greater scheme of things.
2.45pm-8.20pm That's our start time for tutoring; each group is 50 minutes long and we roll through the day until 8.20pm with short breaks between the sessions. We have six tutoring rooms but seven tutors plus myself, so there is always somebody free to do an assessment or give feedback to parents. We only have four sessions on a Thursday, finishing at 6.20pm and work on Saturday until 1pm. I do assessments as the lessons are being carried out. They take up to 40 minutes and I give parents feedback immediately after the assessment so we are all on the same page. We mainly see kids once a week and a lot of kids do back-to-back sessions in maths and English. We have competitions with Dh50 book tokens to be won so it's not like school, it's an extension of scholarly learning and enhances all ability ranges. We have flexible pricing but it probably costs about Dh5,000, one session per week, for 38 weeks.
9pm Downtime at home with a good book and a light snack of hummus and bread. I see this as devotional time being a member of UCCD, United Christian Church Dubai, and evenings are when I can pray and give time and space for reflection. Then it's bedtime at 10.30pm.
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