The tutor next door

Meet Fauzia, a sessional tutor who helps members of her local community to improve their English skills. Her greatest assets? Patience and empathy. After all, she took the same journey.

Language can open doors but it can also close them shut. I’ve taught over 75 courses since I joined the WEA in 2007, because there are so many migrants and refugees in my community who find themselves lost in a foreign world. Imagine. How can you contribute to community life if you can’t make yourself understood?

You’d be amazed how many nationalities learn together. I’ve taught students from Somalia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iran, Iraq, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and China – you name it. All ages too, from school leavers to grandparents.

I get so much out of this. Many of my students are now working towards Level 2 English, and have plans to train as community interpreters, careers, teachers or local volunteers. To know that I have helped lower barriers in their lives feels great.

I’d describe my teaching style as lively. If a student has a particular passion – such as drawing, dance, music or cooking – I will take an interest, and then find a way to celebrate and share it with the class. You need patience in this job. You’ve got to make the time to help students overcome their challenges.

It definitely makes a difference that I live just round the corner. Having an insider helps bring our community closer together. I was like them. I arrived in the UK with very little English. It was scary. Perhaps I show what can be achieved. If that makes me a role model, then great. I’d rather see myself as a good neighbour.

You need patience in this job. You’ve got to make the time to help students overcome their challenges.

Fauzia

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