Learning – An Unexpected Journey
Five and a half years ago, I fell on black ice in England and smashed my shoulder to pieces, which left me in a state of trauma. The loss of my home in rural England, my isolation from loved ones, my lack of income and, most decidedly, the need to return home for some serious treatment and rehabilitation catalysed my return to Australia and the end of my European chapter.
The healing process for this injury involved three bouts of surgery, over a year of rehabilitation and many hours on my own to think about my future as a teacher and to re-evaluate my ideas about learning. It was during this time that I began to conquer many of my own personal disappointments as I fought to overcome the loss of my dream to teach and travel throughout Europe. I was thrust into a state of isolation emotionally, physically and financially, and could have drawn up the bed covers and wallowed in my own pity party with good reason.
However, after almost two years, I slowly found the confidence to begin a little work again. While convalescing, I decided to move out from my comfort zone into a new learning journey and investigate how I could utilise internet technology to build a small business – how to build a website, how to market a product and to learn what all the social media fuss was about. As thus, with many birth pains, Nepean Tutoring was born. What started in a little rented unit in Penrith in January 2012 and has thrived far beyond my initial expectations.
Previously, I had been a classroom teacher for twelve years in Australia and for a year in the UK. I loved the creativity that this career provided me; to be able think outside the square and help children learn in ways that best suited them was exciting and rewarding. I always believed that a productive classroom was a busy place where all children were engaged in learning which they enjoyed (whether that be in small groups or independently). I liked the idea of child-centred learning, but also believed that left to their own devices entirely, many children would acquire gaps in their learning that would interfere with their ability to remain confident and actively engaged in the formal school arena.
With a passion to teach others that learning is about many facets of a child’s development, I had a strong desire to change the way tutoring was perceived in the community. I learned the importance of listening closely to the concerns of parents and students, and to begin to offer what I believe to be a unique model of home tutoring across all grades and subjects.
I had always known that the first objective should be for students to desire to learn, to feel confident they could overcome any difficulties with support, and that they be treated with respect and dignity. I also knew that the development of creative thinking, the ability to express ideas outside a prescribed paradigm, and fostering a child’s joy of discovery were keys to success. Learning through all our senses and adding to the formal learning model, rather than regurgitating it outside the classroom, has become central to my learning journey as a tutor.
Today, teachers and parents are faced with many challenges and demands, and I feel that Nepean Tutoring offers a model in which we can work together as a support team to provide successful learning outcomes. Moving forward, I intend to further explore the needs of our community in the home tutoring niche, and continue to listen to the ideas of the tutors who work with me, along with the parents who trust their children to our expertise. My own learning journey, during the past three years, has been full of invaluable experiences – but they are only of value if they are utilised to assist others.