Meet the Tutors

In order to help you get to know our tutors better, we asked some of them six questions. Over the next few weeks we shall be introducing some of our tutors to you.

Di Smart 2.jpg
Michael Edwards.jpg
Linsay%20MacDonald_edited.jpg
80192020_285138759502453_396302512840914
107533089_290309162318746_16197715702472
More Tutors Coming Soon

Valerie Weston

1. What do you like about living in Hong Kong?


I love that there is such an interesting variety of things to do here - there’s the city feel, the island feel and of course lots of beautiful and unspoilt countryside. When not teaching you will probably find me reading a book at the beach or exploring Hong Kong one cafe at a time!

2. What subject(s) do you teach & what do you like most about your subject?


I teach Latin and Ancient Greek. I have always loved the logical structure of both languages. Of course, so many words in European languages stem from Latin and Greek and so much literature & philosophical thought can be traced back to the Greeks & Romans. Both languages have been enormously influential.

3. What is your favourite book & why?


The Secret History by Donna Tartt. It’s a great thriller set in the present day against a classical backdrop. Without giving too much away it follows the plot of Euripides’ ‘The Bacchae’.


4. If you could have dinner with a historical figure who would it be & why?
Cicero. He lived at a very interesting political time (in the years preceding the downfall of the Roman republic) and he beat the odds in getting to the top of the political ladder despite his relatively humble beginnings. His writing is very diverse from acerbic legal speeches to the more personal letters & philosophical writings. His Latin is of beautiful quality.

5. If you could only listen to one piece of music for the rest of your life what would it be & why?
Allegri’s ‘Miserere mei, Deus’. It’s such a beautiful setting of Psalm 51.

6. If you were stranded on a desert island what one luxury item would you take with you & why?
A diary (with a pen attached!) so I could record my experience and always have the facility to write something down.

 

 

Michael Edwards

1. Where do you live and why do you like living there?

 

I live south of Oxford although within the next few years I hope to move closer to Surrey where my only son lives. He is 5 miles from Gatwick and, as I am a part-time Travel Writer, it would be very convenient for me to be that close to an airport.

2. What subject(s) do you teach & what do you like most about your subject?

I teach English and Business Studies. As a writer I enjoy teaching pupils how to be more creative and draw the reader into their pieces.

Although Covid - 19 has been traumatic for many, it has been fascinating to study many businesses’ imaginative and rapid response to the changing situation. These innovative examples have provided many illustrations in lessons.

3. What is your favourite book & why?

Moby Dick is a tragedy on a global scale, Captain Ahab is drawn to his inescapable fate by his own excessive ambition. Melville even writes an entire chapter on the whiteness of the whale and its symbolism.

4. If you could have dinner with a prominent figure from the world of [Science / Literature] who would it be & why?

At his school AA Gill took the record for the most detentions ever. He then became homeless in London. Yet, he still became an outstanding food writer for “The Times”, even though his dyslexia meant that he dictated his pieces to a secretary. When he died recently, his loss of insight, wit and mastery of the language was a great loss to journalism.

His scathing review of Starbucks coffee chain is a hilarious piece which I frequently use for comprehension exercises.

Of course, the real advantage of having dinner with Gill is that he would select a restaurant with superlative food and wine.

5. If you could only listen to one piece of music for the rest of your life what would it be & why?

Since 1976, I have repeatedly listened to The Eagles’ album “Hotel California”. It was intended as a “State of the Union” piece to commemorate the American bicentennial.

Glenn Frey said the theme of the album was “the loss of the American Dream”. Ironically, the album cover thanked lawyers who were trying to settle disputes between band members as well as session musicians.

6. If you were stranded on a desert island what one luxury item would you take with you & why?

I would need a laptop, with Wi-fi, as I’m sure that I would still have travel pieces to submit - particularly on the desert island.

 

Nicki Robinson

1. Where do you live and why do you like living there?


We live on a farm in East Sussex – the area is beautiful and we are very lucky to have lots of space. The farm keeps us very busy with sheep, poultry and horses to manage.

​2. What subject(s) do you teach & what do you like most about your subject?

 

Mathematics and Further Mathematics – the challenge of the high level topics and the problem solving aspects keep me interested.


3. What is your favourite book & why?


I can’t pick! I read all the time and I couldn’t possibly shorten the list of favourites to one book. One that springs to mind though is Ian M Banks – The Player of Games. Seriously good.


4. If you could have dinner with a famous figure dead or alive, who would it be and why?


Margaret Atwood as her books are brilliant and I think she’d be really interesting to talk to.


5. If you could only listen to one piece of music for the rest of your life what would it be & why?


That’s a tough one – I’m not a big music person but I’d probably select something by Simon and Garfunkel or maybe Stevie Wonder – sorry not to be more specific.


6. If you were stranded on a desert island what one luxury item would you take with you & why?


My kindle with unlimited download options as I always need something to read!

 

Yolanda Vera

1. Where do you live and why do you like living there?

I currently live in the north of Spain, in a region that is very well-known for its wine. Although I have lived abroad for several years, which I think is a great experience in life, I feel very lucky to live in the city where I was born.

2. What subject(s) do you teach & what do you like most about your subject?

I teach Spanish to non-native speakers. The ability to speak a second language is becoming increasingly important as the world becomes ever more globalised. Increased globalisation requires increased communication and language acquisition is an important part of this. Language should not present a barrier to communication between people and I believe that learning other languages - especially one of the most widely spoken languages in the world - facilitates personal interaction and makes it easier for humanity to socialise.

3. What is your favourite book & why?

I could say that one of my favourite books is DON QUIXOTE by Cervantes. I think Don Quixote is a character who allows us to reflect on how society influences us and how we are capable of solving and managing the emotional conflict this brings.

Nevertheless I must add that MOMO by Michael Ende was also one of my favourite books when I was very young. I read it at the age of 12 and I discovered a character with enormous emotional force.

4. If you could have dinner with a prominent figure from the world of [Science / Literature] who would it be & why?

Not a minute would I hesitate to have dinner with the famous spy MATA HARI , so many secrets, conspiracies and anecdotes to discover….

5. If you could only listen to one piece of music for the rest of your life what would it be & why?

It would be something happy and emotional at the same time, something that evokes a universal thought of hope and happiness….maybe ‘DON´T STOP ME NOW’ - one of Queen’s best songs.

6. If you were stranded on a desert island what one luxury item would you take with you & why?

A knife…..it would be very useful to hunt to eat, make things, defend myself and even write, draw and make music

 

Di Smart

1. Where do you live and why do you like living there?


Since returning to the UK from Singapore, I moved back to my place of birth, the North East of England. The beautiful coastline, having the vibrant city of Newcastle on our doorstep and being close to all Northumberland has to offer, have made our move back here a good choice.

2. What subject(s) do you teach & what do you like most about your subject?


My main subject is English, which I studied for my first degree and later my MA at Kings College London. At first, I wanted to study History, but decided my main love was literature – hence my change of decision. Literature encompasses so many aspects: texts are written in context, therefore their historical origin is vital for a full understanding of a writer’s purpose, but they are also about people and what drives social or personal change. Literature can have a profound effect on us as readers or audiences – inspiring us, shocking us, warning us about future trends – or simply pleasing us with the beauty of language. I could go on, but you get the picture.


3. What is your favourite book & why?


An almost impossible question. I love Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre because of the strong female characters in them, other texts because they present the indomitable spirit of human endurance and many more because of the writer’s craft or because they transport you to a different world, but one I find myself returning to is To Kill a Mocking Bird. It is not only beautifully written but a moving story about the need for human decency and finding the courage to stand up for what you believe in – regardless of the consequences.


4. If you could have dinner with a prominent figure who would it be & why?


Again an interesting question and horribly difficult to narrow down. I would like to have dinner with Emily Wilding Davison and ask her what she feels about today’s world. I would also love to talk to Angela Merkels, who seems to put humanity before status and power – rare in today’s political arena, but again, there are many people it would be fascinating to talk to and to get their take on whether we have learned the lessons of history.


5.If you were stranded on a desert island what one luxury item would you take with you & why?


As it is unlikely a freezer would be practical on a desert island, therefore a permanent supply of Haagen Dazs ice-cream is out of the question, I would take a Kindle and hope to be able to download an endless supply of books to read.


6. If you could only listen to one piece of music for the rest of your life what would it be & why?


Another horribly difficult one to narrow down to one piece! Some music links to important moments or people, whilst other pieces are simply exquisite in themselves. I also used to play clarinet so one of my favourites has got to be Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A.

 

Lindsay McDonald

1. Where do you live and why do you like living there?

 

I have moved back to the Fylde Coast in Lancashire recently, having lived previously in Warwick, Henley-on-Thames and Tonbridge. The Fylde Coast is a lovely place where I spent my childhood.

2. What subject(s) do you teach & what do you like most about your subject?


French to A level and German and Spanish to GCSE. I have always loved enthusing pupils with a deep enjoyment of language learning. I also offer UCAS and Oxbridge advice and helping to shape the future of young people has always appealed.


3. What is your favourite book & why?


Until very recently it was always Emile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin – an excellent naturalist work. Having directed Around the World in 80 Days as a main school play in 2019, I re-read the French version of it and it took pole position. Jules Verne was an amazing visionary.


4. If you could have dinner with a prominent figure from the world of Literature who would it be & why?


Jean-Baptiste Poquelin will probably mean very little to many, but Molière, his stage name, will be much more recognisable. I would love to hang out with him! I have translated and directed several of his works and he is the funniest dramatist ever – the father of Modern Comedy.


5. If you could only listen to one piece of music for the rest of your life what would it be & why?


Thomas Tallis’s Spem in Alium. One epic piece of music that never ceases to uplift me.


6. If you were stranded on a desert island what one luxury item would you take with you & why?


I love cooking, but have never been one for BBQs, so a luxury kitchen nestled in the shade of a beautiful palm tree would be just fine.

 

Contact Us

Call us or send us a message to see how we can help

When contacting, please indicate the subject required and level (eg Latin Common Entrance) and give a contact number. We aim to respond within 24 hours.

MINERVA TUITION HK

Room B, 11F, Wing Cheong Commercial Bldg

19-25 Jervois Street

Sheung Wan

Hong Kong  

MINERVA TUITION

278 Bukit Batok East Avenue 3

#01-351

Singapore

650278

Mrs V A Weston

(+852) 6156 5705

© 2019 Minerva Tuition

Site by She's Got A Business