“If you want to be an educator, help change lives and become your own boss, Kumon has great potential”
Andy Newman has spent his career working with young people ever since leaving university. After 14 years as a primary school teacher, Andy sought a change and came across Kumon through an online search. With a strong desire to continue supporting children with their education, he enquired and attended a Kumon information session. An opportunity to take over an established centre soon arose, and five years on, Andy continues to successfully run the Kumon Kirk-Ella Study Centre in Hull.
We caught up with Andy to find out what first attracted him to Kumon. He told us, “At the information session, I connected with so many elements of the Kumon programmes, their aims and the franchise situation. I remember being so impressed in the first Kumon class I visited: I saw students working independently with confidence and I remember marvelling at the pace of their work and the focus they demonstrated. I knew they were all at different levels and yet the Instructor was there for each of them without them being dependent upon her.
“I also liked the idea of becoming my own boss and running a business but with a support network when needed. I soon realised that becoming a Kumon Instructor was to bring an array of opportunities. It was wonderful to feel a sense of excitement about the possibilities ahead.”
With a passion for education, Andy continues to feel rewarded in his role, particularly when he witnesses first-hand the benefits that children gain from Kumon: “In my five years of experience, I have many anecdotes: I have seen students’ confidence and self-belief flourish in a matter of weeks, and observed children who were struggling with a topic progress to working above their school year level within a year or less. I have seen students become readers for enjoyment; children winning awards for public speaking, critical thinking, progress and high achievements. Crucially, I have seen students become independent learners, who not only take charge of their learning in Kumon, but in other areas of their life too.
“Before becoming a Kumon Instructor, as a teacher, I couldn’t find the time to support my own children with their school homework and I remember as a child my dad experienced similar problems. Now, my Kumon parents know that the examples provided on worksheets are used as a tool to prompt students to ‘have a go’ and logically think about the task at hand. Doing so removes the pressure of parents and enables students to become confident, independent learners.”
So, what does a typical day for Andy entail?
“For me, a clear structure to a week and month is vital, however, no day is the same. Like all Kumon Instructors, communication is part of my daily routine: I will respond to emails with existing parents regarding next steps, manage new enquiries, meet new families for enrolments, and manage staff communications. There is also the day-to-day maintenance of materials, stocktakes and ordering to do.
“Every week, Head Office send communication with the latest news and updates across the business. These include training opportunities, best practice, examples from other Instructors, national campaigns etc. Being part of training programmes, there will also be self-learning and Zoom sessions to attend.
“All of this fits around the core elements of planning for, preparing, delivering, and following up on classes. I love my role as a Kumon Instructor; all the tasks behind the scenes are worth it when you see a child reach that ‘ah-ha!’ moment.”
Andy advocates becoming a Kumon Instructor to those who have a passion for education: “There are so many benefits that come with a small business that has a global name. If you want to be an educator and if you would like to help change lives whilst having the autonomy to be your own boss, then this has great potential.
“Being able to support a student who for some reason has developed a negative, limiting belief system at an early age, is such a wonderful opportunity. It takes time, and small steps, but each little glimmer is a celebration. The day where realisation takes place within the student is something that cannot quite be explained or captured. It inevitably brings tears with it. Happy tears!”
Overall, being a Kumon Instructor enables me to make a difference, have a fulfilling career and brings a great work-life balance. I would highly recommend it.