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A day in the life of an Economics teacher

Elaine Tibbatts

In our second interview, Jonathan Shields, Teacher of Economics and Fleming House Tutor, discusses his desire to prove that online teaching can generate a similar set of outcomes as classroom-based learning with the added benefit of offering a truly bespoke education.


Name: Jonathan Shields

Role: Teacher of Economics and Fleming House Tutor

Tell us a bit about what you did before joining Harrow School Online:

I have spent 22 years as a teacher working in a state grammar, a mixed ability independent and a selective independent school, holding numerous middle and senior leadership positions.

I am incredibly proud of the achievements of my pupils. Throughout my time teaching Economics, they have excelled in public examinations with the highest mark being obtained in the UK domestic A Level on 10 occasions, with a further 7 first places across GCSE Economics, Business and Financial Services qualifications.

In both 2010 and 2018, my students achieved the 100% A* double. First, 24 A Level Economics students and later 24 GCSE Business students.

This success has been replicated outside of the classroom with pupils excelling in a range of extra-curricular Business/Economics competitions. In total, my students have won 21 UK/International titles and secured over £100,000 in prize money.

Why did you join Harrow School Online?

I thrive on challenge and felt like I had achieved all I wanted to within a face-to-face school. I wanted to do the same online and prove that online teaching can generate a similar set of outcomes as classroom-based learning.

Can you describe a typical day at Harrow School Online?

My day is focused on our pupils, preparing and teaching lessons, marking work and providing feedback and meeting with them for one-to-one coaching appointments.

What are the things you enjoy the most about teaching at Harrow School Online?

I enjoy working with a mixture of different pupils and having the ability to meet with them for individual dedicated coaching sessions. That level of personalised support is surprisingly difficult to do in a more traditional face-to-face setting, but in an online environment, we have dedicated time with no interruptions.

What do think is the biggest benefit for pupils attending Harrow School Online?

Harrow School Online provides pupils with the flexibility to schedule their learning at their own pace and offers an individual level of support that can be organised to suit their specific needs. It truly is bespoke education. Having taught gold medal winning Olympians in the past, I know first-hand how important a bespoke, personalised education can be to success.

What is your favourite Harrow School Online memory?

As their tutor, watching Fleming House win the House Music Video competition will always be a great memory. Everybody took part and created a really very clever video which was conceived and led by the House. It was the embodiment of the family culture I wanted to create within the House where everybody has a contribution to make and everybody respects everyone’s efforts.

If you could tell those pupils thinking about joining Harrow School Online one thing, what would it be?

Whilst schools, colleges and universities, as well as learners and their families, have adapted to the best of their ability during the Covid-19 pandemic, your existing online learning experience shouldn’t necessarily be the benchmark for what a Harrow School Online education is like.

Done well, with the correct platform and dedicated materials, online schooling can achieve the same, if not better outcomes than face-to-face teaching.