Elbeth Clarke opened the Kumon Newry Study Centre in June 2015, offering Kumon’s individualised maths and English study programmes to local primary and secondary school aged children, and the centre is now an established part of the community.
We caught up with Instructor Elbeth to find out how she has found her first year in business.
She said: “The decision to set up my own Kumon Study Centre was a big one for me as it was very different from my previous role as a consulting structural engineer.
“Although I hold a post-graduate certificate in education, I was used to designing buildings and working with architects, building services engineers, contractors and cost consultants, rather than running my own business and working with children.
“Whilst my engineering career was interesting, challenging, and rewarding, it was never as rewarding as being able to help a child work through a problem and seeing them grow in confidence.
“Over the last year I have enjoyed getting to know my students and their families, learning about their goals and aspirations and then finding a way to guide them as they work towards those targets. Each child is different and changing all the time, so I use my observations to tailor their work so it is just right for them and best supports them into being a happier, more efficient student.
“Often students come to the centre with a fear of the subject they have been finding difficult, and the best reward as an Instructor is seeing this change in mind-set, when they relax, drop the tense posture and open their work with the confidence that they can complete it. It is great to see a student begin to enjoy and take pride in their learning and who continues to keep improving, often far beyond their own expectations.”
We asked Elbeth if she could name any stand-outs moments from her time so far as a Kumon Instructor, she said: “There have been two distinct moments for me over the last year; one was an eight-year-old who came to Kumon because she was very anxious about maths. After a short time, she realised she could do the work that was set at her level and relaxed a bit. One day in class I saw her kicking her legs under the table as she was enjoying the work.”
“The second is a seven-year-old who was having trouble with reading and phrasing. One day he was sitting aside another child waiting to be collected, when he decided to share his book with the other child and started to teach him how to read. I loved how the child had not just developed in confidence but also kindness.
“I am passionate about life-long learning and aim to support my students to develop their study skills and enjoy learning from an early age. Now heading into my second year I would like to see the centre grow steadily so even more students can benefit from the Kumon Method of Learning.”
Thanks Elbeth, we’re sure you will achieve this goal.