International Women’s Day – Natasha Willings
This International Women’s Day I’m sharing my story. I was born in the county of Essex in the early 90’s, to a Black British father and a White British mother. Essex is a mixed area when it comes to diversity, like any county. Throughout my upbringing, I had an experience of both comparisons. My first primary school was based in Greater London, where they were many different cultures, nationalities as well as differing levels of social-economic backgrounds and religions. Maybe this is relating to the fact that there is a greater wealth of people there. I learnt so much from those early experiences and it created a passion and love for understanding all varieties of people, no matter how they present themselves.
In contrast, my second primary school (which was a fantastic, nurturing environment) was based in a more rural area of Essex. It is still known today for its affluence, status and prestige. My movement away from Greater London meant a movement away from diversity; with my second childhood home being based in a heavily-white majority town. I was fortunate to a degree that I didn’t experience huge amounts of overt racism in my childhood. The only examples of these that I can remember were name-calling or subtle, covert examples of how that area of people saw the shade of my skin (which is a fairly, light-skinned mixed heritage person) as a defining entity of my existence. However, I would say that I was lucky in regards to this!
Due to spending the majority of my time with my Mum’s side of the family (who are white), I feel that my culture background has surrounded those traditional related to their cultural background. However, having read ‘The Mixed-Race Experience’ recently, I would say in my later years I have been attempting more to be centred around my mixed heritage. This is something that I have always loved to research when understanding the historical background of people of colour.
Even before, I had learnt to teach I had always had a great enthusiasm for working with children, whether it was in a sport coaching capacity or even as a Cover Supervisor in a secondary school. When I completed my Postgraduate Certificate of Education in 2016, I was over the moon, with my initial experiences within a number of schools being a Teacher of History. Over the years, through the support of amazing mentors, I have been able to gain clarity on how to generate engagement of children by hooking them into their learning and bringing each subject to life, by linking with their passions and learning styles. My mentors have also taught me how to ensure that all students are able to access and be incorporated into their learning environment, whether they are active/passive learners or they have barriers that prevent them from learning, such as those with SEND needs. This has been a huge driving force for me within my business as I believe that every child has the capacity to be able to flourish with the right support. I have also researched profusely to help create learning tools packs that could help close the gap for those with SEND needs, Doodle Exercise books and a Mindfulness course to support everyone with the knowledge of how to look after your mental wellbeing.
The reasoning behind creating Limitless Learning UK was due to seeing first-hand how many children struggle to cope with the demands of the current UK education system. In essence, I had noticed that learning has been stripped of its creativity; with a heavy focus now being exam-driven teaching. Many children and parents have consulted me feeling hopeless and isolated in knowing what to do to best support their child, especially those with SEND or who are unable to access the learning processes within school.
On a personal level, I have also felt from my own experiences as a student, that learning did not help to aid my Dyslexia. I always felt that I had trouble accessing and ultimately retaining knowledge. This was due to it being delivered in a way that my brain could not comprehend. It was so important for me to make a brand that meant that every child became a powerful learner in their own sphere and could access their learning if it is tailored to them. I also wanted to ensure that creativity was embraced for all children so that they can make their learning individualised and personal. This was a skill that I had identified would help in becoming an open-minded, inventive adult. These essential, transferable skills for adulthood should be prioritised. Evidence supported by LinkedIn suggests that creativity remains in the Top 5 highly sought after employability skills.
These experiences have had a huge impact in shaping me into the teacher that I am today and have helped to develop the concept of my holistic, unique tutoring business which encourages children to embrace their creative flair and to learn through different concepts, such as gaming, to ensure the movement of learning from the short term to everlasting.
We have been truly blessed to see so many children flourish over the years when accommodating these approaches of teaching and learning. It has helped children in improving self-esteem, building confidence in their learning and gaining excellent examination results that had previously felt out of reach.
What makes Limitless Learning UK different to other tutoring business in the UK:
🎨 We use creative methods and our pedagogical knowledge to ensure learning is engaging and retained. Creativity is an important life skill that employers look out for. We embrace this through our Doodle Exercise books (see our website).
💗 We ensure that sessions are tailored to your child’s needs and interests. We provide thoughtful, personalised lessons that we can adapt whenever we need to.
🧠 We use holistic and mindfulness techniques to build confidence and a positive mindset. If the wellbeing of students is great, it can open the door to their learning. We even have a Mindfulness course that can be completed at home (see our packages)!
👾 We improve engagement, memory and motivation by using gamification and interactive learning activities. This works well for all, with particular focus on students with SEND needs and those who are disengaged learners.
🙌🏽 Experiences of supporting students with SEMH and SEND needs. We also have specific learning tools and packs that can support their learning further (see our website for more information).
🏫 Guided revision support so students know what and how to prepare for their exams
😊Adult lessons in a number of areas, including language workshops with a qualified language teacher
What we offer:
🤗 Face to face tutoring arranged at a suitable location for you!
👩🏽💻 Interactive, engaging online tutoring via Zoom, Google Meet or Teams (don’t worry it is way more exciting than school lockdown lessons – we can give you a free 30 mins to see whether it works for you).
📚We have students from KS1 (aged 5 years) all the way up to GCSE (aged 16). We can even teach A-Level in History, Sociology, Biology, Maths etc.
👩🏽🏫 You are matched with a qualified, DBS checked teacher who has completed our Safeguarding checks.
🏡Home-Schooling daytime sessions.
🚌 CPD and tutoring support for schools in the West Midlands (although we are likely to expand).
Women are powerful, resilient and determined! It was important to join together as a community of females to make a difference and to make sure every type of women’s voice was represented. I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to be amongst some phenomenal business woman and celebrate all their work across Worcestershire, especially on International Women’s Day.
What does Embrace Equity mean to you this International Women’s Day?
I feel that it means that each and everyone of us should stand by ensuring a fairness and equality amongst people. No matter their colour, orientation, gender or disability everyone should be treated kindly. We should be celebrating differences as that is what allows to make the world a better places, with developments across all sectors in society. How boring would it be for us all to be the same?
Creating opportunities through networking, events and peer support for female business owners and company directors in Worcestershire.
Surround yourself with a positive, supportive and inspiring network.