Hi! I'm Jish, a Malaysian student who recently graduated from Merton College, Oxford with a BA in Jurisprudence (fancy Oxford talk for Law) in June 2015, and who is currently in London studying the LPC in preparation for a training contract with an American firm's London office.
But before all that, I just hailed from a good but small international school in Kuala Lumpur and did the IB there, scoring a 44/45. Given that I come from Malaysia, which only sends about 5-10 Malaysians to Oxford per year, I know what it's like thinking, "Good Lord, I'm never going to be able to do this. I'm never going to be able to get in. I mean... all these other guys are so polished and prepared. Sigh, this is just a hail Mary." I understand that feeling, I understand the enormity of the university applications process and I can tell you, if you're thinking you're inadequate... you're wrong. At least I was. So maybe you should come along with me and see if you're wrong about you too. I promise I'm good fun - when I'm not hungry.
PS And hey, if you're super-confident, I'm good with that too. I just want your money.
PPS Fine, I want to teach you well too... I do actually love it when I see the spark of understanding in a person's eyes.
When I was young(er), one of my teachers once told a kid in my class that you're either born with intelligence, or you're stupid. That stuck with me because even then, the thought that a teacher could call one of their students stupid nauseated me. Since then, I've taken that feeling and solidified it into the belief that anyone can be brilliant, if they're just willing to give it time and effort, and to be brave enough to not compare themselves to anyone else and to just think in the way they know best. It's certainly worked for me.
So, as a tutor, I'd work on giving my students all the raw materials they need and then helping them make the same realisations I made, helping them find the learning and thinking style that works for them. That means constantly talking to my students about what works for them and what doesn't, and constantly tailoring my students' classes to their unique specifications. For some, this may mean a lot of me lecturing. For others, this may mean lots of independent learning with an hour or two just spent questioning me or discussing the issues with me. For yet others, learning may take a completely different tact.
No matter what your distinct learning and thinking style is though, I intend to start off from the notion that if we just put in enough work, we can become good at anything. And if we're good at something (if we didn't already love it), maybe we can then start loving the subject too.