This week I did an interview with one of my lovely ex-students, Zara. As we were liaising about the interview preparation, I discovered an entertaining fun fact (though it made me feel a little old!) Zara is 24 – the age that I was when I first started teaching her.
It reminded me of the journey I’ve been on. I set up my business on 1st July 2002; 20 years on I’m still just as passionate about bringing bilingualism to monolingual families.
There’s something I have to be honest about.
When I first started teaching French, it was as much a means to an end as anything else. I’d arrived in the UK, had a couple of roles which didn’t really light my fire and needed to find something to help me make ends meet. I was bilingual and I had always felt a real connection with kids, so teaching French seemed a logical opportunity.
I did it because I could; not because I knew at the time it would be my future.
I didn’t have a grand plan.
I didn’t know what I was capable of.
I didn’t know whether I’d succeed.
It was exciting, but it was a leap into the unknown.
I had a gut feeling that it was the right thing to do. And as soon as I started, I had a profound realisation that this was my life’s mission. I told my parents I was going to quit my job and set up a business bringing French to monolingual families, and The VICI was born.
Thinking about how everything started has made me realise that there’s a bit of a parallel between my story and the stories of the monolingual families we work with.
So often, these parents have a gut instinct that it’s the right thing to do.
When monolingual families embark on the journey of a bilingual future it’s a leap of faith.
Will the child enjoy it?
Will they stick to it?
Will it be highlight of their week?
No parent has the answers right at the outset, and there are no guarantees, but they know and understand that with the indisputable advantages and opportunities bilingual brings, the only thing to do is to take that leap!
Each child has their own journey.
Some like Zara, pursue their journey for a few years.
Others, like Megan, continue along the path for much longer.
Some, like one of our ex-students Ali, continue along the road for ever and even pursue languages as part of their career.
The fact is, the destination isn’t the most important thing; it’s the introduction to languages and the linguistic journey that really counts.
And every journey starts with a first step.
I’m so happy and feel so rewarded that through The VICI, I have built my career around helping monolingual families take that first step.
Because while to start off it might feel like a leap of faith, so often those children end up flying.