Hi, I'm Jake, and I'm a senior tutor at Yipiyap.
"What does 'senior' mean?" you ask. It means I came back.
As you can imagine, I thoroughly enjoyed working for Yipiyap in my gap year. So much so that I'd been dead set on coming back ever since I left to start my Sociology degree at the University of Manchester. Well, three years later, here I am again.
For me, a gap year wasn't something that I'd always planned on taking. It was result of the timing of my choices. Before my gap year, I had just completed my first year of Theoretical Physics at University College London. Lovely university... but the course? The course wasn't for me.
I had picked it because I was good at it. You see, it's a common thing for people to come out of high school or college without having yet found their calling in life. In college, I picked Physics because I was good at it, along with Maths, Further Maths and Chemistry to back it up. I'd been interested in social dynamics for years, but it wasn't until I was in my first year at university that I discovered my love for teaching it and writing about it.
The crucial moment came after I had begrudgingly completed my first year of university. I had given the first month of my second year an honest try, but deep down I knew it was time for change. I followed my heart, and applied to study Sociology at the University of Manchester. But the timing was late. I had no choice but to take out an unplanned gap year while I waited for the upcoming September start. Little did I know what an amazing opportunity this gap year would be - and it's all thanks to Yipiyap.
Back then, Yipiyap was a much smaller company that went by the name of AMM Learning, and things were a little different. My interview with Anne consisted of an informal chat over coffee, but from speaking to Anne I could really tell that this company was something special. I was hooked, and I couldn't wait to start.
My placement was interesting: I was to work, primarily, with one child in particular who had missed the vast majority of high school due to difficulties in their living circumstances. For them, this placement was something magical. Ordinarily, there's no way that teachers could focus on individual cases to the extent that an in-school tutor is able to. Teachers have got classes to teach. They have a timeframe and a syllabus and they can't be in two places at once. That is where the value of an in-school tutor lies. I felt wonderful being able to offer someone the opportunity of a lifetime – helping them from a state of accepting the bare minimum grades in their GCSEs to becoming not only back on track with the syllabus, but actually ahead of their classmates, ready to take on their final year with a strong head start.
This experience stayed with me and I wanted to do more. Sure enough, I applied to re-join Yipiyap the second I was done with my degree. "Wow," I thought, "how much things have changed..." as I walked into the new Yipiyap building in Altrincham. The rebranding was excellent, and I especially liked the name "Yipiyap." Young Inspiring People Inspiring Young Aspiring People - "that's a message we can all get behind," I thought.
My second interview was rather different. Yipiyap has a formal interview process now. I got to meet Jess, Alan and Catherine while they were hard at work in the new place, and I met all of the other lovely people at Yipiyap the week after, during the formal induction days. There, the spirit of Yipiyap as a collective vision. was deeply apparent and felt strongly by all. It felt like part of a new social movement; a new paradigm; a new future for tutors and students alike.
This year I find myself teaching between ten to fifteen children per week. Some in groups, some on a one-to-one basis; now and then supporting individuals in class. That's on the macro level, but on the micro level... things change all the time. I am tasked with this or that as priorities shift along with circumstances at hand. I love coming into work every day, and the sheer variety of what's going on means that each day is different than the last.
Alongside my work at Yipiyap, I've been working on a website along with a good friend of mine who I have known for many years. It's a website about rock climbing and bouldering and we've both been writing content for it every single day. The kids love the site, and I'm actually amazed by how inspired they get to do more writing in their English class when they see the real-world application of what they're learning. They feel like being tutored is more than just having some extra help with their work: it's an insight into life after school. The website is www.dailyclimbing.com. You can check it out if you like.
That's all from me, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds in store for Yipiyap and all involved.