Working – and Writing – in Tuscany

I’ll be working in Tuscany for the next three weeks. It’ll be tough, but someone has to do it.

I should probably explain what I do to put food on the table, and lots of pretty shoes under it (these are all my shoes, just so we’re clear – I haven’t been keeping a fleet of well-shod children from you). Tom and I run an academic private tuition agency, and teach a fair bit ourselves. We started off just teaching, then realised that we actually knew what it would take to run a pretty good agency.  We know what a good tutor looks like, and where to find them, and we provide training, resources and advice bourn of our own experience.

In case anyone doesn’t know what private tuition involves (I didn’t, before someone offered me money to do it) I travel to students’ houses, and give them extra academic help, usually with English comprehension and composition. Most lessons are an hour at a time, once a week, mostly helping them to prepare for 11+ exams. We offer tutors for all subjects at all levels, but the biggest demand is for 8-13yr olds taking entrance exams to get into private secondary schools (English, Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning primarily, though also Latin, French and Science for 13+). I’m pretty amazing at A Level tuition, if I do say say so myself  (all my students go from C/Ds to As or A*s, and a fair few have actually got 100% on both exams and coursework), but I specialise in the 11+ as I also get on really well with 9-10yr olds. We seem to be on the same brain-wave. Worryingly.

I’ll be teaching for a family at their private Tuscan villa until the end of August. Two Russian girls, aged seven and fourteen, who will be starting at an English school in two years so need a bit of extra help. I’ve also been asked to spend half an hour each day with their two year old brother. I was rather nonplussed by this, as I didn’t actually know two year olds could talk. Apparently they can though… any advice would be welcome! We actually provide a lot of holiday tutors over summer, and also arrange for the occasional full-time teacher to move to Moscow. There’s a high demand in Russia for experienced English tutors, especially those from a public school background; Old Etonians with an Oxbridge degree are like gold dust (if any Oxbridge-Etonians are reading this and fancy being sold to the Russians, please do get in touch).

I don’t usually do holiday placements myself, as I have a regular stable of London students and it’s nice to have the odd holiday of my own when they’re away, but with a wedding to pay for and a novel to finish, this one seemed too good to pass up. I’ll be teaching four hours per day, split between the morning and afternoon. Beyond marking homework and preparing lessons, I’ll be keeping myself busy the rest of the time getting on with that novel I’ve been writing. Or haven’t been writing, more to the point. I’ve hardly touched it for the last four months, so I’m looking forward to having no distractions, or excuses. Hopefully on the beach or by the pool!

diary writing

Where do you do your best writing?

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20 thoughts on “Working – and Writing – in Tuscany

    • Definitely – more to follow soon! It’s always interesting to hear how different people approach teaching, as so many different methods are effective if delivered well. Jx

  1. congrats! have a wonderful 3 weeks there & I hope you get lots of your book written, love your posts Jade keep it up. I send them on to my dad to read too.:)

    • It is wonderful! At times very stressful, and sometimes you have to work harder than seems physically possible (100+ hours per week in busy times, working through meals if you even have time to eat at all)… but definitely worth it for the freedom and agency over your own life! Jx

  2. Have a wonderful time in Tuscany, it is fabulous there at this time of year! If you have time I would definitely pop over to Montepulciano and the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, its one of the few places you can hear the Gregorian Chants.

    • Thanks for the tips – I suspect I’m going to venture no further than the beach for the next few weeks, but Tom and I will definitely be holidaying in Tuscany as soon as we have the time, so will make our way to Montepelciano… that sounds incredible. Jx

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  5. I am a retired teacher. I did Social Studies, English, Geography and etc. Etc. means anything they threw at me. I worked with the students nobody wanted. Some days were tough, some were demanding and some down right ugly. I did over thirty years and ten years at the college level. That is right i am 45. Just kidding. I am 67 but I look 67. Any way I envy you in Tuscany. Enjoying what you do and a book writer plus. If you can use any of my stories feel free to do so. If they help anyone it will be all worth the time and effort to put them into the blog. Sincerely, Barry

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  7. Love the photo you used of the woman writing by the water. Are you the photographer? I’d love to replicate it in a pencil drawing, with the photographer’s permission. Would you mind connecting with me via email? PS: Hope your experience in Tuscany revved up your novel-writing.

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