Running an online tuition business, over recent months, has been an amazing experience in many ways. Helping hundreds of children improve their Maths and English levels every day is immensely rewarding. Watching children, who have started learning a new language, be it French, or Spanish thrive and chatter with enthusiasm about their new skills is extremely satisfying. We have an ever-growing number of children starting to learn Mandarin, with an eye to the future world order and a Reception child with a father who lives in Germany, who she will surprise by greeting him with a few words in his language. We love these individual stories and are so thrilled that we have managed to make the last few months a little easier for parents and their children.
For us, the passion that every child should be able to fulfil their potential underpins everything we do at Golden Brain Academy. Tuition and the ability to supplement what is learnt at school has often been seen as inaccessible or expensive. We do not think it needs to be so; keeping prices affordable is one important aspect but Zoom and other platforms can now connect our outstanding teachers with a child anywhere in the world.
Yet, despite these positives, the Covid crisis has once again raised concerns about the disparity in educational opportunity offered across the country. It has been humbling to speak to parents who want assistance but have no access to a computer, yet alone Wi-Fi or even Internet banking. Incredible how different the provision of home-schooling has been from school to school; busy parents unable to commit sufficient time or simply unable to cajole their child to complete what is sent through. This is not a criticism of any school or teacher but more a reflection of the myriad of challenges this unexpected event has placed on our education professionals and of course parents. Sadly, it seems that the children who need educating the most are the ones suffering the greatest.
Some of these challenges are not new. Many teachers, who entered the profession with a desire to educate and improve the life of children, feel demotivated because of the never-ending administration that comes with the job, an ever-present issue over many years. Excessive testing and scrutiny by their peers are also cited as reasons why so many teachers are leaving the profession.
For many home-schooling parents and their reluctant leaners, the respect they feel for their teachers has never been higher. However, it is also clear that once children return to school, the students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, need inspiring and life changing education more than ever. So, come September, when we all pray that our children can all return to school, let’s hope our teachers are given the time and space to do what they best, and that is to teach.
“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.”
Mustafa Kamel Ataturk