April 24, 2023, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

My experience as a Brilliant Club tutor

Riana Popat picture


Hi, I’m a Riana Popat. I’m the University of Nottingham Brilliant Club Recruitment champion. I am a philosophy full-time third year researcher and I have been teaching for the Brilliant Club as a tutor for almost 2 and a half years. I have really enjoyed the experience and it has definitely been one of the highlights of my PhD!

I have been fortunate enough to teach on different programmes for the Brilliant Club (the Scholars Programme, The Brilliant Club Tutoring Programme and The Seren Programme (for Welsh students)). I have taught many different age groups in secondary schools ranging from Year 7 and 8 to Year 12 and 13 and have taught at 15 different schools over the course of my PhD! It has really enhanced my skillset as a researcher as well as a teacher.

Among the many highlights when working as a tutor for The Brilliant Club, I really enjoy the final feedback sessions at school (this is where I am giving out marks and feedback to students and they have all done so well in their final assignments!) This is where the students are really excited and where they see all their hard work paying off and we celebrate their achievements together. Moreover, I try to give them insightful and helpful feedback that they can use in future philosophy essays and other future essays going forward. Coupled with this, I have really enjoyed answering student’s questions: often we talk about studying at university and I’m able to answer their questions and get really excited student’s career ambitions.

“I have really enjoyed the experience and it has definitely been one of the highlights of my PhD!”

As a researcher, teaching at The Brilliant Club also encouraged me to think differently about my research. This is because I have to display my research to school pupils; I am constantly thinking about how to make my philosophical concepts easy to understand to my students (and the general public). This can be really fun as I’m having to think about how to display complex information in simple ways (and often this can be quite creative).

The welfare benefits whilst studying a PhD have been invaluable to me as well. For example, having a structure of going to school has been really helpful, especially helping me manage my time more effectively. Also, I travel to school every week (or every second week) which I have found helps break up and structure my time. It has also really increased my pedagogical skills and experience too. Socially, it has been a really nice talking point among researchers and academics, and we have been able to compare the difference between their university teaching and my school teaching, which always promotes interesting conversations!

Most importantly, however, it has really given me a great insight into the education system and also enriched my PhD experience and I would highly recommend any PhD researcher or Postdoctoral becoming a tutor for The Brilliant Club!


Why not come along to my How to become a Brilliant Club Tutor’ session on 18th May 2023.

The Brilliant Club is an award-winning university access charity that provides researchers with paid public engagement and tutoring opportunities. They recruit and train PhD students and ECRs to support less advantaged school pupils access the most competitive universities and succeed when they get there. You will gain valuable teaching and public engagement experience, receive expert training and support and earn from £500 per placement all while helping pupils from underrepresented backgrounds improve their life chances.

This seminar will be led by Riana Popat, a PhD student at Nottingham who has also been a Brilliant Club Tutor for the last three years.  Riana will provide general information about applying to The Brilliant Club and the benefits of teaching for The Brilliant Club. She will also be talking about what it is like to be a Brilliant Club tutor and how rewarding it can be.

Posted in Brilliant Club