Boost Interviews A2B Education Founder, Nick Garlick
What is it like to run your business?
Rewarding, in a word! Every day presents different challenges and opportunities. Having the opportunity to help young people achieve their targets and assist in their development is something I really enjoy, so having the chance to do it on a daily basis is great for me.
A typical day consists of teaching a varied number of hours, from our short webinars first thing in the morning, before moving on to our individual 1-to-1 sessions with students. I work with students of all ages which keeps me on my toes and ensures that no two lessons are the same.
The majority of time is spent teaching, but aside from that, there is all of the lesson preparation, administration, report writing, social media, marketing and dealing with customers… it is certainly busy! I wouldn’t have it any other way though, and I enjoy the satisfaction that comes with fulfilling different tasks throughout the day.
What got you started in doing what you’re doing?
It was something I thought about as I neared the completion of my teacher training. During my final few months at university, during school placements, I was moving to the decision that classroom teaching was perhaps not what I wanted to do – which is ironic as it had been a long held passion of mine since primary school. I started to think of other ways that I could fulfil my passion of helping to develop young people, and so decided tuition soon after qualifying as a teacher. I’ve been doing it ever since!
What experiences/qualifications do you have that brought you in to doing what you’re doing now?
There’s a few! Four years of studying education at university certainly helps, and has really given me a strong foundation from which to work from. I gained an honours degree and then a PGCE in this time. I remember studying a range of different educational philosophies and approaches over those years, which has given me a well-rounded idea of what teaching should be.
Before, and during, university, I made a point of trying to gain as much experience as possible. This meant spending time volunteering as a teaching assistant in schools and so on, as well as gaining experiences working with children in out of school activities. Football is a passion, so volunteering in youth football from a young age also gave me plenty of experience. This is something that I have continued to do on the side of the tuition business, so it keeps me very busy.
What would you say are the most important characteristics in your line of work?
Showing that you care. I want each and every one of my students to achieve their targets, and I care about their educational journey. I want to help them as much as I can to get to where they want to be, whether that is hitting a certain grade or getting into grammar school. I believe it is important that the student sees that you are there because you want to help them, rather than doing it for the sake of it.
Other important attributes are to be calm, approachable and a good listener. I feel that calmness helps reduce the stress of learning. If a student does not understand a particular topic, then a calm approach will relax them and allow them to work through it at their own pace. It is also key for me that you are a good listener – this will allow you to fully understand exactly where the student is at, with themselves, and then you can begin to identify and build confidence in the troublesome areas. Sometimes it can go beyond the school work, so I believe it is important to listen to be able to listen to student’s if they are concerned about other things too!
What part of your business do you find most satisfying?
Teaching, of course! I thoroughly enjoy teaching, whether that is in our individual 1-to-1 sessions or our short webinars that we’ve been doing throughout May. It is a very good feeling when you can help a student understand something they’ve previously not been able to, and it is great when you get that moment when the penny drops, so to speak. I also enjoy the interaction, not just with students, but with their families too and it is great to keep in touch with them throughout the academic year. I have also enjoyed creating our recent webinars aimed at Key Stage 2 pupils, and feel they provide a useful resource for parents and students that may wish to recap or learn particular areas of maths.
How do you market your business?
I do try to keep our social media channels up to date, although this can sometimes prove challenging when I have a very busy teaching schedule. Social media is certainly a useful tool for marketing, as you can get information shared to more people than other routes. Word of mouth is another area that plays a big part, and it is always nice to know that parents are happy with the service provided and they recommend to their friends as well. I actually purchased a number of flyers to go out and about around East and South Devon, but these are currently stored in their box at home!
Over the next 12 months, 2 and 5 years, where do you see the business heading?
I have a number of ideas that I will look to branch into over the coming months and years. I think the next 12 months will present us with a number of challenges and opportunities, and I would like to continue to grow the business as much as I can. It would be great to see my customer base continue to develop as well, as I have a range of ideas that can cater for an increased demand. Looking further ahead, I would be hopeful of building relationships with schools in the local vicinity, to assist them with children in care and so forth, or children that may require some 1:1 tuition during the school day.
Do you have plans to grow and expand the business?
Indeed – I am always thinking of where to go next! I think that it is important to set goals to strive for, and I am a firm believer that anything can be done if you go about it in the right way. As I mention above, I have a number of ideas that could help us grow even further and I am extremely excited to see how far this can go in the future.