Cultivating transferable skills
I’m very passionate about what I do and the students and the parents feel that, too, not only in our day-to-day interaction, but also through a blog I write and our monthly newsletter. To encourage my students to complete the reading program, I’ve established a $500 Reading Completers scholarship, which I pay out of my own pocket. I’ve found a lot of families focus more on math because they believe every child reads. But reading isn’t just the ability to read—it’s also the ability to criticize, analyze, argue and discern between concepts like comedy and tragedy. These are all skills we need in life. I want every student and family to understand that Kumon is not just about math and reading—it is a program that develops an independent learner and a holistic student.
I believe I run a good, professional centre, with high expectations of every student and family that enrolls. We call our discipline tough love—we hold our children accountable when homework is not completed, but we also have a reward bonus program for them. I know my students love me in spite of the strictness. Every Christmas and at the end of the school year, I am flooded with lovely thank you notes and small personalized gifts they make themselves. Some children even wish to share their school reports with me; I am touched we can play a small part in their lives to make them feel more motivated, smarter and confident in themselves.
Kumon has also recognized us for our efforts, awarding us last year for being one of the top three centres in Canada for our reading retention program. My two youngest sons live with their father in Kenya, but I’m proud to say all three of my children joined me in Baltimore, Md., where I was presented with the award at Kumon’s annual Instructors Conference.
As I worked to establish myself in Canada, it was my transferable skills that allowed me to buy a franchise and build a life for myself and my sons. I find things have come full circle for me in a way, as I’m now helping my students cultivate those same traits: discipline, perseverance, routine and structure. Whatever else they take away from the program in terms of math and reading, it’s those skills and others that will help them succeed.
Some life lessons are learned the hard way, but those are usually the ones that inspire success.
I’ve been in Canada less than 10 years, and when I reflect back on the early days and the challenges I faced to establish myself and support my family, I realize the secret to life is that hard work equals success—there is no easy formula. It’s an attitude I instilled in my sons and continue to do so with my students.
Sanjit Kaur is owner of Kumon Math & Reading Centre in Kanata, Ont. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kumon Math & Reading Centres
Date of first franchise: 1958
Franchise/corporate units: 331
Investment range: $62,870 – $158,390
Initial franchise fee: $1,000
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