Happy Fifth Anniversary to US!! I cannot believe it has been five years since I set up the business – it has been an exciting and fulfilling time and it has made me realise just how much you learn as an English teacher that is transferable across so many sectors.
I was recently invited to speak to some local Year 9 Business students about how and why I set up my business. It was a timely reminder that it is our 5th Anniversary, and it allowed me to combine the two things that I still enjoy: working with teenagers, and learning for life.
I love being able to select the work I am most interested in. It allows me to concentrate on how, in my professional judgement, things should be done. It also allows me to manage my own time – I can select work that supports my family time and my work life balance. Although, I must admit, there is still a lack of balance – especially at exam times!
I have lost count of the amount of times over the last 25 years that people have said I must be ‘mad’ to work with teenagers, but it is still my favourite age group! It is so exciting to see them develop and grow and have the confidence to go off in to the world and put their new found independence in to practice!
I still teach, it is an intrinsic part of my make up that I really want to maintain. Professionally, I firmly believe that if I am to advise with integrity, I need to know what I am suggesting will actually work. Over the five years I have taken a variety of roles:
It is the variety that keeps me motivated!
As I have worked all over the country, every time I have a new place to work I try and catch up and stay with old friends. I have been back to Nottingham, London, Manchester, Derbyshire, Birmingham, Leicester, Grimsby – and on every occasion stayed with an old friend. It has been a brilliant way to see people in person rather than relying on the odd Facebook post for keeping in touch.
I really love our office. Twenty four hour access, somewhere for my books and work, no disruptions, a bright and warm environment. It is a perfect place to work. In five years I have NEVER experienced that terrible feeling of dread approaching the workplace.
Reading has always been my passion, but now I have written over 60 blogs, and it has made me realise how much I enjoy the craft of writing. My long term aim is to write a novel. Although, I am concerned that I will be abandoned by friends and family if I delve too much in to our deepest darkest secrets for the plot!
Setting up and establishing both a charity, Building Self-Belief CIO as well as Everything English Education, has been both challenging and exciting. Teachers are often told that their skills don not transfer into the workplace, and are often denigrated for having no experience of industry. I can confirm that there are so many skills that are directly transferable. Time management, website creation, writing blogs marketing, social media, managing meetings, networking, challenging conversations, presentations – I could go on.
Nevertheless, I did take on the services of a fabulous business adviser, Linda Lowther. She was an inspiration and showed me the difference between surviving and success. She instilled in me the knowledge of knowing my worth, financially and professionally and it was a hard but valuable lesson to learn. It did take me a while to get used to the exposure – going from the insular existence in a school, to having to advertise and promote ourselves was the biggest step. Having a coach to encourage and support me greatly helped.
It has been privileged to be added to the management committee of NATE and I have found being part of such an institution a great support and a brilliant way of developing my own, and other people’s professionalism in the teaching of English. Regional teachmeets have allowed me to extend and develop my teacher network across the North East region and nationally. I also love going to business networking events. We are part of a fabulous group called the Do Business Network. We are also member of the Chamber of Commerce. Their events give us opportunities to put education on the map and advise employers in the best way of engaging and supporting young people in to work. I have had some brilliant support from a series of business owners. Having spent most of my career in institutions, it is still a great comfort to me to have a network behind me.
Leaving salaried work to fend for yourself and find your own work was a totally new approach for us. It was also a bigger risk when Peter left his salaried work to join me – but he has made an invaluable contribution to the business. His expertise in Teaching and Learning and how to motivate students and teachers is a brilliant addition to our services. Having a business partner whose integrity and motivation matches my own, and who is totally trustworthy in every aspect is worth it’s weight in gold. He has greatly contributed to the success of the company.
Interestingly, the biggest issue we face is that everyone who gets in touch almost apologies for bothering us – they assume we are busy all of the time. Therefore, if you ever feel the need for our services, please call, we will always try and accommodate your requests!
Happy 5th Anniversary to Us! Here is to many more years of supporting students and teachers and helping them steer their way through the ever choppy waters of the English education system.
I will be presenting at NATE’s Conference in June- I hope to see you there. Book now!