We caught up with Debbie as she reflects upon her 15 years with Kumon and the many more to come.
“I first became involved with the Formby Study Centre as a parent. My children were both Kumon students from the age of seven and four and studied both the maths and English programmes. It was watching their development of excellent study skills and their increasing confidence that first made me think about becoming an Instructor.
“Deciding to become a Kumon Instructor was definitely a big risk for me as it was a huge step away from my then role as an Environmental Health Officer, specialising in acoustics. I was used to being one of the ‘bad guys’, telling people what they can’t do and placing limits on their growth, but as an Instructor I became one of the ‘good guys’; and that’s what I love about the role, breaking down those barriers students may have up for themselves and watching them blossom.”
Recalling what it was like running her centre back in the early days she reminisced about how all the reporting and centre administration was completed on paper, and with email and mobile phones a novelty, communication with parents was certainly more limited.
Both the Formby and Southport Study Centres have experienced peaks and troughs in student numbers over the years, but new venues and innovations in marketing have helped both centres become what they are today.
Debbie said: “Being a Kumon Instructor is a real joy and I could put together a huge list about what I enjoy about running my study centres; if I had to name one, the best parts of my days are the many occasions when a student comes to tell me that they have done well at school, perhaps moved up a set or put their hand up in class for maybe the first time. Seeing their face light up with pride at what they have achieved is really something.
“I get immense satisfaction from watching my students develop and start to study beyond their school level. Seeing a Year 2 or Year 3 student studying long division and completing their work without asking for help, knowing you have given them the confidence to tackle something so advanced for their age, is amazing.”
Debbie believes her experience as a Kumon parent has been crucial in helping her establish good relationships with her Kumon families: “I am better able to empathise with them as I understand the challenges they are facing within the home, particularly getting their child to complete their Kumon during summer or when they’re on holiday. I have always been proactive in providing parents with tips and hints to give them that extra support through those more challenging times.
“I would sum up the past 15 years as a combination of euphoria and self-development. I have grown as a businesswoman and to this day am still growing and developing as an Instructor. I am a firm believer in the phrase ‘there is always something better’, and each day I am developing hand-in-hand with my students.
“Far from resting on my laurels I have many aspirations for the future which include, continuing to grow both centres, and working to add more value to new students and their families so they can see improvements in their child’s study from the beginning. I am also excited for the day when I have my very first Kumon grandchild! (A former student enrolling their child at the centre because they know and appreciate the difference Kumon made to their life and want the same for their child.)
“Running a Kumon Study Centre is hard work, you need to be self-sufficient and confident to do well, but it is an extremely rewarding, fantastic job and one I would, and have, highly recommended to others.
“I feel lucky and privileged to do what I do and I hope to continue on for many years to come.”