Inspiring tutors of Islington

  • 22
  • Apr

We sat down with John Healey, a tutor for Islington Council’s Adult and Community Learning team. If you’re interested in expanding your skills, come along to one of their open days: enrollment dates for the summer term are 24 and 25 April, between 09:30am and 4pm, at First Steps Learning Centre in Central Library and Arsenal Learning Hub. More details can be found here.

Briefly introduce yourself

My name is John Healey and I work as a Lead Tutor for Islington Adult and Community Learning.

Tell us about your career so far

I’ve worked for Islington for nearly 10 years and prior to that I worked as a maths tutor at Haringey Adult Learning Service and also at the College of North-East London as a Brickwork tutor. Teaching was a career I thought about whilst at school but for many reasons I didn’t pursue it until much later in life.  I’d been working on building sites for 20 years and didn’t much like the idea of another 20 years out in the snow and rain. The lure of a nice warm classroom seemed much more pleasing. Once I got into teaching I then wished I’d done it sooner, it’s an incredibly rewarding job.

There are so many people over the years who have entered the classroom nervous wrecks only to leave at the end of the course full of confidence with a recognised qualification which will help them to progress onto further learning or the job they’ve dreamed of.

What would you say to someone who was considering Islington Adult and Community Learning but weren’t sure?

I honestly can’t see why our residents wouldn’t want to learn with us! We have learning centres all around the borough meaning that most classes are within walking distance or a short bus ride away. Many of our courses have flexible modes of attendance from one and two sessions per week through to flexible distance learning for English and maths. This is particularly useful for those residents who work full time or are too busy to attend regular classes, they can still work towards recognised English and maths qualifications. We also have great courses to help you prepare for work and to improve your computer and digital skills. We are very good at what we do and our success and achievement rates are amongst the highest in London and feedback suggests that our learners love studying with us.

Best part of the job?

I’d have to say my colleagues. We’re a very supportive bunch and I’d like to think that we’re always there for each other. Knowing that if I have a problem that I can talk to a fellow tutor or my line manager at any time and their response will be supportive

What’s your favourite thing about Islington?

The many parks and open spaces available to everyone around the borough, especially in the summer months where you can just lie back and enjoy the sunshine. I encourage my learners to go outside and enjoy the sun with a good book (as long as it’s a maths book!)

What would you do if you were Mayor of Islington for the day?

I’d have one Sunday every month where the main roads in Islington are car-free and I would encourage the use of active transport like walking and using bicycles. The cut in pollution levels would make the air more breathable and the benefits to our health would be immeasurable. Going car-free for a day would be the first step in making Islington a borough we not just survive in but thrive in.

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