Cal Revely-Calder - Private Tutor in West and Central London
I recently finished my PhD in English Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, having completed my MPhil (with Distinction) and my BA (Double First, top of the year) there as well. I was commended for finishing my PhD in under three years, and I was elected a research scholar at Trinity each successive year.
At Cambridge I’ve taught (and still teach) undergraduates at all levels for a wide range of English papers, and outside the university I’ve tutored students from the age of fifteen upwards. While studying and teaching, I’ve also worked in various parts of the Cambridge Admissions and Access systems, and I’ve been involved in everything from marking Clare’s entrance exams to judging Trinity’s Gould Sixth-Form Essay Prize.
Finally, I’ve published not only academic articles, but also journalistic work, essays and reviews; my writing has appeared in the Cambridge Humanities Review and Literary Review, and I’ve won the Guardian’s Student Critic of the Year award. I’ve also published poetry in several venues, winning two Powell Prizes at Trinity and appearing in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, and I co-edit my own magazine with friends, ‘Charlatan Works’.
Subjects I Teach
My Education & Qualifications
University of Cambridge, 2013 – 2017
English (Twentieth-Century Literature) (PhD): Pass
University of Cambridge, 2012 – 2013
English (Modern & Contemporary Literature) (MPhil): Distinction
University of Cambridge, 2009 – 2012
English (BA): 1st (double, once starred)
My Tutoring & Teaching Experience
I’ve taught English students at Cambridge University since 2014, on topics spanning the history of English literature, and with a particular focus on writers from the nineteenth century to the present day. I’ve also worked on a range of more informal sessions alongside that official teaching, too, helping out with essay problems and other work-related issues.
Outside the classroom, I’ve worked on Admissions at Cambridge for three years, in a variety of capacities including the marking of entrance exams, and I’ve given lectures and talks for several different Access programmes, for sixth-formers from less privileged backgrounds, to give them a sense of what Oxbridge demands.
I’ve then also privately tutored students in London and Newcastle, from age fifteen upwards, working on a range of English subjects, and dealing with specialised problems from academic essay-writing to the close analysis of texts.
My Approach to Tutoring
While ensuring that students can understand and work towards their particular aims – essays, exams, pieces of writing – I always try to help them reflect on their own thinking. How do we approach, say, a poem? What do we know about it, and can it also puzzle or trouble or enthral us? What are we reading literature for, and why do we enjoy it? I start from the details of a text – whether it’s a text that’s being studied, or being written – and help the student unfold them, and then I show them how to think about literature more conceptually. (A rhyme might have a certain meaning in a certain place, but how does rhyme work more generally, and how do we find ‘meaning’ in it in the first place?) The aim isn’t only to sort out the present problem, but to enrich the way the student thinks.
In the course of teaching at Cambridge, I’ve found that students trained for A-levels often have difficulty with maintaining both structure and style in their writing, especially under the pressure of working towards exams. For this reason I try to help my students understand the basics of fluent, grammatical writing, and I work with them on refining their expressive skills at the same time as enhancing their knowledge of the subject. I also try to give them an awareness of the other artistic worlds near the work they’re studying; this has always been part of my own research into twentieth-century literature, which has involved relating (e.g.) theatre to dance, and poetry to visual art.
When focusing on academic essays, I work closely with students on their own use of detail, argument, and structure, as well as their style; often they can give their writing a better flow by analysing it closely themselves, as they do for their study materials. This goes for critical work too – say, journalistic pieces – and creative projects, whether poetry, drama or prose. In all these cases, I especially enjoy talking one-on-one, passing ideas back and forth; at Cambridge and outside it, I’ve found it’s always the best way of helping a student understand how their mind is working, and how to fine-tune the potential they already have.
Fun Facts About Me
I was the Guardian’s 2014 Student Critic of the Year, and have published book reviews and essays not only in The Guardian but in Literary Review, Prac Crit, minor literature[s], 3:AM Magazine, and elsewhere. I’m a poet and editor, too; I co-edit a small poetry-and-prose magazine in Cambridge, ‘Charlatan Works’, and my own writing, which has won prizes on three occasions, has appeared in Blackbox Manifold and the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual. Before university meant a move from Northumberland to the South, I played squash to County standard, and won a regional trophy in the North-East; in the summers, I also used to surf with family in Wales.