Today I’m introducing the newest member of the Green Tutors, team. Kirsten is joining us as a full time A level biology tutor. I’m delighted to welcome Kirsten to the team.
October is ADHD Awareness Month, and a fitting time to talk about how ADHD has shown up in Kirsten’s experiences.
ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and is a neurodevelopmental disorder than can impact both adults and children. It is often undiagnosed in girls, and can have an impact on their studies and general life in the meantime. You can learn more about ADHD Awareness Month at https://www.adhdawarenessmonth.org/.
“I have ADHD, and I love fiction – getting deeply invested in and nerding out over stories I like, including talking about them in depth to others who like the same stories. I also like biology and similarly enjoy talking about biology to people who are interested in learning about it, which is why I’m now a biology tutor!”Kirsten Legg
What qualifications do you have?
- A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths.
- First Class BA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge.
- PhD in Chromosome and Developmental Biology from the University of Oxford.
- Level 3 in Education and Training from Qualified Tutor (well, not quite yet, but getting there! Soon!)
What is your current role?
Full-time A level biology tutor, nothing else!
What did you study to get here?
The aforementioned degrees, but I specifically focused on the cellular/molecular side of biology. My PhD was on DNA repair.
Is this what you always wanted to do?
For a long time, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, other than something related to my interest in biology. I used to think that the only real way to pursue that was through doing research. It was only when I realised I couldn’t continue in research for the sake of my mental health that I started looking into other options and figured out that tutoring was a much better fit for me.
What kind of student were you at school?
The “gifted” kind.
I was naturally bright enough and interested enough in my subjects that my ADHD didn’t happen to get in the way in school, or even really in university. This was not a good thing in the long run, because it gave me too-high standards for myself and set off a lot of self-esteem issues when I inevitably couldn’t match up to them any longer.
Did you have a tutor?
Only for maths, sort of.
I was a few years ahead in it, so I had one-on-one lessons once a week with one of the school’s maths teachers to teach me the material. This was probably a more fun way to learn maths than the regular classroom way would have been! So at least in that sense, I have experience of how having a tutor can make a subject more engaging.
How did you decide what to study?
I just found biology really cool and intriguing once I got to A level and we started really getting into the cellular/molecular stuff, so I wanted to learn even more about it.
Did you make any mistakes or have any setbacks in your career path?
Yes! A lot!
I did a PhD because I felt like I was supposed to, as if it was the only option for pursuing my interest in science. I ended up struggling massively and burning out, because this was finally a situation in which my undiagnosed ADHD made things difficult for me.
While I managed to complete my PhD in the end, I knew I couldn’t stand to continue in research, so I spent a while not knowing what to do with myself, because most other jobs would be difficult for me in the same kind of way.
I’ve figured out what I want to do now – this, tutoring – but I’m still working on my mental health baggage from all those years of taking the wrong path and failing my own too-high expectations.
What are your top three tips for GCSE students?
Just some general life advice:
It’s okay to not be perfect, to struggle and fail at things and have difficulties that the people around you don’t seem to have.
It’s okay to not know what to do with yourself yet; you’ve got plenty of time to figure it out. Maybe you’ve got the impression that adults know exactly what they’re doing and have their whole lives figured out by their early twenties? That’s all nonsense, actually.
So much of Kirsten’s story resonates with my experiences, and with the struggles I see in my students now. It is common to expect to start perfect. It is the privilege of a tutor to help students to learn to accept and appreciate exactly who they are and what they can achieve.
Kirsten is currently available for online lessons on weekday evenings and weekends. If you would like to arrange biology tuition up to A level with Kirsten, submit your details at https://greentutors.co.uk/request-for-tuition/ and we’ll arrange and introduction. Or you can Book a phone call with me (Georgina) to talk more about what you need.