The summer holidays are over and the kids are all heading back to school. But what about you? Adult education classes aren’t just yoga, cake decorating and conversational Spanish. Maybe you missed out on some or all of your formal education and want to improve your literacy or numeracy. If so, it’s never too late to head back to the classroom.
Whether it’s to help your children with their homework or improve your job opportunities then the Improve Your Skills lessons could be just what you need. A lot of people think that it’s only for those who can’t read or write but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been involved as a tutor since 1998 and, during that time, have worked with students at all different education levels.
My first student was studying for a professional qualification and, after quite a few years out of the education system, was lacking confidence. I was able to work with him on his study skills including essay writing, revision techniques, and tackling his exam nerves.
My other students have all been keen to progress in their careers but felt that a lack of formal qualifications was holding them back. I worked with all of them towards completing (and passing) their Key Skills (now Foundations Skills) qualifications. One passed level 2 in both literacy and numeracy and got a new job with a better salary while another passed level 2 literacy and gained a promotion at work.
Lessons don’t always have to be geared towards studying for formal qualifications though. I’ve also helped my students update their CVs, fill out official forms and write letters that they didn’t feel confident enough to tackle alone.
There are no time restrictions either which certainly suited my students – they could all work at their own pace and take their exams (totally optional so no pressure) when they felt ready, whether that was after six months or two years. This is where patience comes to the fore – something you’ll need lots of to be a good tutor. It can sometimes feel that you’re going over the same topic week in week out but when your student suddenly has that ‘eureka’ moment and everything clicks into place for them you know that it’s all been totally worthwhile.
To know that I’ve played a part (however small) in helping my students realise that, despite what they may have been told at school, they do have the ability to learn and pass exams is a fantastic feeling. It’s so rewarding when you get the call to say they’ve passed their exams or got the job they applied for and a real pleasure to be able to share in their success.
There are other benefits too in being a volunteer tutor including increased confidence in the workplace, making new friends and the chance to get qualifications yourself such as a City and Guilds Certificate in Teaching Basic Skills.
So, if you want to go back to school to learn or you fancy trying your hand as a tutor contact your local college. You can start at any time throughout the year so don’t use the fact that the academic year has started as an excuse!
Have you ever taken the plunge and gone back to school? Or have you been an adult education tutor? I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment below.
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