Following from our ‘10 minutes with Kate Bridges‘ blog, we spent some time with Emma Jolly to get her side of things!
Are you ready for your inquisition? Let’s go!
What made you become an 11+ tutor?
Being an 11+ tutor is hardly something that little girls dream of doing when they grow up, me included! However, I always wanted a career that involved helping people, wasn’t the typical 9 – 5, and involved having a business of my own. FSL certainly ticks all of those boxes!
I fell into tuition whilst at uni, at first teaching a variety of subjects 1:1 and in small groups to students in Years 4 and 5. I signed up full-time after I graduated, stayed for a couple more years, and then took off to New Zealand. When I came back almost 2 years later I quickly knew where my heart was, and Kate and I started FSL shortly after.
As Creative Director of Fraser Stevens Learning, what is the thing you’ve created that you’re most proud of?
I’m proud of everything we’ve created, from our course textbooks to our free resources that ensure everyone has access to home learning.
There’s no contest when it comes to the thing I’m MOST proud of, however… it’s definitely our ‘11+ in a Box’! A full year of blood, sweat and tears (sometimes literally!) went into creating the structure of the programme, the materials, video tutorials and online progress tests. It’s been a long time coming and many late nights, but I finally feel like we’ve created a wonderful resource that makes 11+ exam preparation that much more accessible.
What’s the best thing about your job?
There are so many great things about it – I’m really lucky! I love having the ability to take an idea and just run with it, no corporate hoops or hierarchy of bosses to contend with, and of course I love working with my best friend!
At the end of the day, however, the best moments always involve the kids. Listening to their funny stories, helping them with their problems and getting to know each of their lovely, individual personalities is such a priceless part of the job. Don’t get me wrong, the kids can also the most stressful part of the job, but they’re by far the most rewarding.
And what’s the worst thing?
I have to agree with Kate that it can be hard being seen as a villain sometimes by people who strongly oppose the 11+ system. I do understand it, and I’ve had my fair share of mental struggle with the whole process myself.
At the end of the day, my job is to help children with their education, regardless of the system. We’ve made big steps towards making preparation for the exam more accessible, including developing our range of home based learning courses and providing free or discounted education where possible to families who need it most.
If you weren’t an 11+ Tutor what would you be?
I’m sure I would still be in education one way or another. I’ve always been interested in SEND and educational psychology, and have only become more so after dealing with children with special educational needs as part of this job… so perhaps something along those lines!
And finally…What makes Fraser Stevens Learning different to the others?
We understand that the most important thing is for children to be happy. From the first phonecall to the last words of encouragement, our main focus is always 100% on what’s best for each child. We’re not about stressing kids out or pushing them past their limits; we just want them to feel happy, confident and working to their full potential. If that leads to a pass in the 11+ exam then that’s great, but we don’t judge our students’ overall success on one test result.
Great, thanks Emma.
Join us in our next blog where we’ll be looking at the best ways for you to help your child when it comes to exam preparation.
Thanks for reading.