why i love my job

Teaching and supporting students who are working towards their next steps

Hello, I’m Fiona. I am an ESOL tutor with Parker Enterprise. I’ve been teaching EAL and ESOL for over twenty years – both here, in the UK, and overseas – in many different contexts. I have been fortunate to meet interesting people who have all been motivated to learn English to help improve their life in some way. This has provided the greatest reward in my career – teaching and supporting students who are working towards their next steps – and gladly, for me, this is very much the ethos of Parker Enterprise.

Most of my work has been preparing students for the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examination. Over the years, I have prepared thousands of students to enter universities around the world, and this is what I was doing when the Covid pandemic hit. We realised immediately that we would have to move teaching online. It was nerve-wracking at first, I had always taught in well-designed classrooms and knew that my teaching style relied upon face-to-face interactions. I knew I had to adapt and did… learning how to motivate students in a different way, revising classroom lessons and improving technical know-how (learning not to panic with tech and digital literacy issues!).

I assumed that I would return to face-to-face teaching once life returned to ‘normal’, and I did for a while. Yet, when my personal circumstances changed (my family moved to a rural area) my commute and work schedule seemed to become unmanageable. While I pondered options that would best suit my changed routine, I took up primary school supply teaching in the local area. Around this time, my youngest son, now 5, was referred for an Autism assessment and I knew that I needed to be more present as he started primary school. Essentially, it made sense to look for online teaching roles.

I was very fortunate to meet with Martin Brown and Karen Fraser (online, of course!) and learn about the work of Parker Enterprise. Following this, I was extremely pleased to be able to join their team. I am proud to work for a company that is focused on supporting people in their development. Despite employees being dotted all over the UK, Sharri, the Director, always ensures we are supported, Karen – as Operations Manager – ensures we have a sense of ‘belonging’ within the organisation, and Martin, the ESOL Coordinator, is always available with advice and great resources.

Had I realised the positive impact (to my family life) that returning to online teaching would offer, I would have done it earlier. In fact, I regret not being more present for my children prior to this. The contrast between the time I had for them previously, and now, is huge. The work I do online is so enjoyable – many students comment that the courses we run, don’t just help develop language skills but help them gain confidence and cultural knowledge – helping them improve their lives. Above all though, I feel I have managed to achieve a great balance between work and family life… which now I have it, I realise just how invaluable it is.