Tutorhub Blog

It’s a constant battle – adults v kids. From the moment they are born, we are playing catch-up. The moment we figure out what to do, the little blighters change the rules and we are back to square 1.

Those with long memories will recall ‘Supernanny’ on Channel 4, which shone a torch at the battlefield that was bringing up toddlers and young children. It also gave the childless out there a really good insight into the ‘challenges’ of parenthood. Maybe you like me introduced House Rules along with Reward Charts and the Naughty Step, and maybe it even worked. But not for long!

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The onset of the adolescent years brings with it a whole new set of challenges. For me, it’s a couple of spotty grunting teenage boys. Barely an hour goes by without them being generally objectionable or arguing with each other, me or my wife. Even the…

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Tutorhub Blog

Having already looked at some of the top educational tools for students on the market, I’ve flipped the classroom and had a gander from the other side of the desk.
Tutorhub

Expected to turn up to every lesson and lecture with a firm plan of action, we sometimes forget the amount of behind-the-scenes slog that goes into the working day of our esteemed educators.

I’ve been snooping around for the best tools currently on offer to teachers – if you think I’ve missed any out please don’t hesitate to throw your suggestions my way using the comment box below.

1) Teachers Pay Teachers: Vast marketplace where lesson plans, tests, quizzes, worksheets, white board activities, powerpoints and more are available either for free or for sale. Ok, it’s an American centric tool but there are plenty of great resources right across the curriculum that transcend borders. Got any lesson plans you’re particularly proud of? Upload them to…

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Advice I would have given 20 year old me

Here’s my list.

  • work smarter, this doesn’t necessarily mean working harder or longer hours. Work out when people are taking advantage of your good nature
  • don’t choose to work away from home so much, think of all the wasted time
  • don’t treat work like a competition in which you need to come first, build lots of friendships and alliances
  • take your MBA in your twenties, not thirties
  • work out how to spend your time, what’s important and whats not – don’t sweat the small stuff
  • dont lose your temper, you’ll feel and look stupid
  • don’t buy stupid mid life crisis cars
  • start your own business earlier
  • realise that it’s not all about the paycheck, it’s about living a fruitful and happy life
  • spend as much time as you can with the kids

Ten bits of advice I have given to my kids

I see it as a part of being a ‘good dad’ to give your kids fatherly advice from time to time, to  make sure that they stay on the right track.

Here is my list:

1. Be happy. In your home life and at work. Love and be loved. Life is short, so make the most of it. If you are unhappy, change it. Know when things are rescuable and have the sense to work out when they are not.

2. Get good friends. Ones that stick with you through the years. Be a good listener and take time to meet up with them.

3. Always give it 100% whatever you are doing. That goes for work and your social life – you will get more out of it, honestly. Be patient. Always do what’s right. Don’t stand by and watch when the wrong thing happens.

4. Care about what is happening in the world. Think about politics – don’t be tribal about it, think about your values and vote for the party that most closely matches them. Always vote, even if it’s for the least bad candidate.

5. Treat education like a long term quest for knowledge, not a short-term goal to get that first leg up in life.

6. Try not to do anything stupid. Think twice before you do something that you might regret later. Don’t take that as an excuse not to push the boundaries a bit. Stay within the law.

7. Enjoy sport. Find something you can do and are passable at – and stick with it. Pick a sports team, follow their results and watch matches when you can. Care about what happens to them.

8. Treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself. Care about people with less going for themselves than you.

9. Be accepting of other people’s opinions and beliefs.

10. Family comes first. Take time to listen to them. Take time to be with them. Try not to get too frustrated with them.

Finally, make some time for your parents in their dotage – remember I was like you once, and I wasn’t perfect either.

Things that make me laugh

I was asked the other day to say a bit about what I find funny and the things that make me laugh. 

Here are five things that make me laugh, and maybe why I find them funny. 

1. My kids being artful. I know that artful isn’t really a word we use these days, but my nan used it to describe us when we were kids if we had a (transparent) alterior motive. So for example, the kids wanting to take the dog on a long walk or buy a newspaper when they really just want to go to the shops to buy sweets. Walking the dog seems like fair reward for a mars bar or two, so fair exchange in my book. But it’s fun seeing them construct stories. 

2. Irishness. My father came from County Cork and only those with Irish parents actually fully understand Irish humour. Television programmes like Mrs Browns Boys and Father Ted crack me up, or should that be ‘craic’.

3. Pompous people and politicians. Need I say more?

4. Silly things that happen to me. You have to be able to take a joke. 

5. Watching old family videos. Peering into a time gone by with my own family makes me realise how much laughter there is within families. Hard not to laugh at the kids when they were learning to speak or at primary school. Funnier still is the faces that they pull now when they watch the videos. 

As I write this, sitting in the garden, the dog is trying to eat a mushroom. That makes me laugh too. 

Next time someone asks me I will have an answer. 

What makes you laugh?

Belated new years resolutions

Okay I know its almost the end of February already, and if New Years resolutions are to mean anything then you should start them on January 1st. But here are my three resolutions for 2012.

1. Get fit. This means losing some weight and getting active. Progress report: Next to no weight lost, but I am seeing Ross Elliot, a personal trainer who has made me realise that this is an achievable goal. So I have joined a gym, and this year is the year that I will get back to my fighting weight and fitness.

2. Be there. This means being there more for my family. Not that I think that I am a bad dad you understand. The time was when I was rarely at home, and these days are now well in the past. I just need to try to be more understanding and supportive. Progress report: trying my best. I am really pleased that my eldest son is working really hard toward his GCSE’s this year, I can’t wait to be there and share his excitement when he opens his results letter and starts Sixth Form.

3. Make my business more successful. We are a tech startup, so maybe some of the usual measures of success e.g. profit, take second place to growing user and customer numbers. Progress report: signs are really positive. Our online tutoring website Tutorhub is getting traction in the market-place. This is the resolution that I am most certain of meeting.

Oh yes, there is a fourth resolution too – to blog more. Which is where I started this blog post….

Start-up Bristol

Back in 2007, Kevin and I set about developing the ideas that would ultimately lead to the founding of our online tutoring web start-up Tutorhub.com. I was struck at the time, but how difficult it was to get a business like this off the ground, at almost every level from getting a bank account, through to finding good advisers and engaging with the local tech community. Developing and growing our business continues to be a challenge, but I do get the sense that there are growing numbers of start-ups, and that networking events like SW Founders and Thirsty Thursday make it easier to network.

I recently came across a useful article by Andy Parkhouse of Team Rubber the other day entitled ‘Silicon Gorge – the Bristol list’. This interests me as someone with a start-up in the Bristol area.

This may surprise some of you, particularly those who live here – how can it be this big? What evidence is there? Well Andy came up with this useful list of businesses, incubators, VC’s, support organisations, networks, meet-ups, conferences. I found this really useful, and have come across many of the organisations / events over time, and would recommend new entrepreneurs to follow the links – there is alot of help and advice out there to you.

Tech and Software Ventures

Incubators

Funds and finance groups

Support organisations