About the Instructor
My name is Gail and I have been a qualified Primary/ Elementary teacher for the past 24 years.
I studied a teaching degree and an Honours in Psychology in order to further my understanding of my students. I found that in my first year of studies that I loved to work with children and they motivated me through their enquiring minds, beautiful smiles and keen passion to learn.
As a teacher, I have a quest for learning more and growing in my understanding and desire to teach. In 2000, I found the Kumon programme and decided to leave the general classroom and focus on individualisation, where I was able to nurture skills and motivate greater success. I worked at the Kumon Head Office for two years, training like-minded educators in the Kumon method and then I decided to return to the students, this time armed with the Kumon method.
I have been a Kumon Instructor for fifteen years and I wake up every morning with a spring in my step, as I love working with students in the Kumon programme. What I love most about the Kumon programme is that I am able to work with each individual child, tailor making a study programme for each child. The Kumon programme allows me to build skills in my students which they may not have fully developed in school.
In 2002, I purchased my Kumon centre and started with just a few students. Today we are running our Kumon centre in an adult education centre in Norwood, where the atmosphere is one of learning and growth. I have children from all walks of life in my study centre; I enjoy working with the average student, the gifted students as well as special needs students.
The young students in my centre range in age from three and four years upwards. These children are keen to learn and grasp concepts in a warm, friendly environment which is an extension of their playtime. They learn to play with numbers, learn the names of numbers, count the quantities and develop fine motor co-ordination, pencil control and connecting dots. All of this prepares them for what lies ahead in school. By the time they enter Primary school, most of the junior students are already adding and subtracting and way ahead of their peers. There is no greater reward for me than to see these young minds develop skills in both numeracy and literacy and these students most often go on to become highly successful in primary school and then high school.
The primary school and junior high school students often join Kumon in order to catch up. We do an assessment and begin with less challenging work, in order to build confidence and good skills such as speed and accuracy, as well as concentration and work skills. Very soon these young students are catching up, often surpassing their grade levels in school. As a result, this puts them ahead and raises their self-esteem. They then have all the necessary skills with which to cope and most often excel in high school or senior high school.
Both the maths and English programmes are very detailed in the content a student needs. I love the way the maths programme builds a child’s skills from the basics upwards. Once we assess our student, each one begins to create his or her own path of learning, using repetition where necessary to build skills, and advancing where necessary with mastered skills. This is perhaps the most unique part of the Kumon programme. Each child, no matter what grade, age or level of skill, will advance at his or her own pace, succeeding and mastering as he or she advances. Once we feel mastery has been attained, we move each student on to the next level, thus advancing him or her as and when necessary.
As a result, we have students of various ages working at levels often surpassing that of their school grade. This does not create boredom in class, on the contrary, this makes them confident self-starters, who are able to cope very well with school life and often stand out as the most successful.
When I bump into a past student, who has completed High School or about to finish, I take great pride in knowing that I played some role in this young adult’s life. These are young men and women who know what it takes to succeed in life; they have worked hard and have become part of our workforce, our universities and our future! I love to find out what they are doing and they never fail to remind me how Kumon added to the sum total of their success.