We all make decisions that we feel set the direction of our lives, but one of the biggest misconceptions is that once you’ve chosen a certain path, you can’t change it.
Mindy, 37, is the perfect example of breaking the status quo as she revitalised her life after spending years as a stay-at-home mum. After losing her confidence, she decided to make a change and study A-level Maths online with learndirect. Now, she’s training to become a secondary school Maths teacher.
She has proved that it’s never too late to go after what you want. This is Mindy’s story…
‘My Decision Was Made’
After moving to the UK from China with her husband 10 years ago, Mindy focused on raising a family, but after her children started primary school, she decided that she wanted to do something for herself and train to become a Maths teacher.
Already equipped with an English Language degree, Mindy decided that she needed an A-level Maths qualification to embark on teacher training, so in 2021 she turned to learndirect on the recommendation of her husband.
“I looked at other websites, but my husband told me many years ago, he had [studied] a course with learndirect and said it was great,” said Mindy. “I even got a quote from different websites, but I wanted to go with learndirect. I looked at the reviews on Trustpilot and that really helped, especially when we didn’t know what the course would be. My decision was made.”
‘You’re in Charge of Your Own Timetable’
Going back into education after a long time can be a daunting experience, but the flexible nature of learndirect’s online learning platform and dedicated support from her tutor Vikki gave Mindy the confidence she needed to take control of her future.
“The course was really well set up and because I hadn’t been in school for a long time [it could have been confusing], but the way the course was set up – it was great.
“My tutor was amazing. She’s lovely. I had lost some confidence since becoming a full-time mum but with Vikki’s encouragement and help during my studies, it’s not only the course itself but also the support I got from my tutor. Her marking and any questions I asked, she was always really prompt.
“I would study when the kids went to bed from 9pm to 1am. I think because of my background – when we studied in China, we would do late-night study - so I’m used to it. I find it quiet and peaceful, and I can concentrate more. You’re in charge of your own timetable, it’s more flexible and that’s a great advantage.”
‘Maths is Black and White’
Many may have assumed that the logical step for Mindy would be to train to become an English teacher given that she already has an English Language degree. However, she felt that due to her Chinese heritage, she may have been at risk of prejudice.
“Let’s face it, it happens. I appreciate that the children here are really inclusive and it’s a really lovely environment, but things do happen. ‘Why are you teaching me English? You’re not English born’. It sounds sad but I’m more pragmatic.”
With mathematical equations and answers simply being right or wrong, Mindy felt that she was better suited to teaching a subject that was logical and practical. She did notice, though, that while Maths is universal, the way in which it is taught differs across the world.
“Maths is black and white – I’m more that type of person, just get the job done. It’s interesting to see that we are all taught differently. In the education system, Maths is taught differently. The way we were introduced and educated [in China] is different compared to this country, which is quite interesting, and I thought ‘I’ll just give it a go’. The more you do, the more you love it.”
‘Easy Set Up for a Mature Learner’
After enrolling on her A-level Maths course online with learndirect in the summer of 2021, Mindy sat her exam a year later, achieving the grade that has helped her secure teacher training at a local secondary school in West Sussex.
As part of her course package, Mindy’s exam was booked by learndirect at her nearest exam centre, taking away the stress and hassle of her having to arrange it herself.
Upon reflection of her studies, Mindy has claimed that the course framework and the support from her tutor were the biggest highlights of her time with learndirect.
“The whole course is set up in an easy way for a mature learner. Some of the topics I haven’t touched on for many years but the course itself gives you a recap, it didn’t throw you straight into the course, which I found useful. Even now I still go back to re-read some of it! The course is lovely, it’s greatly set up.”
‘Online Learning is the New Trend’
In a survey of learndirect learners, 52% claimed that digital learning will surpass traditional education in the next 10 years. Mindy believes that the popularity of online education will continue to grow due to the flexibility and freedom that it offers.
With households up and down the UK living in intermittent lockdowns during the Covid 19 pandemic, studying and working from home has become somewhat of a staple.
“I think [online learning] might be the new way,” said Mindy. “Lockdown is part of the reason why I started because people had more time at home. You can maximise your time and the way you use your time instead of wasting it. My colleague at university is doing online learning.
“I think it’s the new trend. The great advantage of flexibility with online learning might attract more people. They can [learn at] their own pace – you don’t have to rush.”
‘I Want to Help Younger Generations’
Mindy has found a renewed sense of purpose by achieving her A-level Maths and now she hopes to empower the next generation to feel confident tackling numbers and equations.
“I do see that a lot of children are struggling with Maths, absolutely struggling. Some of the children have Maths anxiety and disbelieve that they can do it. They think ‘I can’t do it; Maths is too hard’. That’s why I want to get into teaching, I want to help students build the confidence that they can do it. I want to help the younger generations.”
‘Trust Yourself and Go for It!’
We all experience bouts of self-doubt, and even though Mindy lacked confidence, she didn’t let those negative thoughts stop her from setting goals and achieving them. Regardless of age and circumstances, learndirect provides solutions for anyone looking to start fresh, take their career to the next level, or turn their passion into their livelihood.
If you’re thinking about making a change but haven’t quite given yourself the green light, then maybe these empowering words from Mindy will help…
“I lost my confidence, but if you don’t give up, you’ll get there. You’re not alone. Even after I finished my course, [I] swapped emails [with my tutor], and she carried on supporting me. We know we’re not alone and we’ve got the support.
“Believe in yourself and go for it! I will give you any possible encouragement I can. Trust yourself and go for it, you never know what’s around the corner. You never know your potential. I didn’t know. Don’t be scared, you can do it. Anybody who wants to study, go for it!”