As we approach children returning to school after being with us at home for over 5 months, I thought I'd capture my feelings, achievements and failures over this time in this latest blog.
Running a small business is HARD WORK! You become a Jack of All Trades; learning about invoicing, tax returns, marketing, website development, SEO, social media, the list goes on!
My degree in Speech and Language Therapy didn't teach me any of this, neither did 12 years in the NHS. So since leaving the NHS to work alongside my mum and help run Mediterm Training, my learning curve has been a steep one! Mum took a step down from the business a couple of years ago and, while she is still involved in the business to help deliver training, I'm in charge of the day to day running of the business and wear that 'Jack of All Trades' hat.
In 2016 I had my third child, a little boy (an absolute dream!), and soon learnt that juggling 3 children, breastfeeding and running a business is TOUGH! There's no escape from work and there's no escape from children, unless of course when the older two are at school. During this time, I would manage work around naps, working late at night, watching Paw Patrol with my laptop on my knee, answering emails on my phone during night feeds - but the chances of getting any work done between school pick up and children's bedtime were slim to none!
Now, throw in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC where children don't go to school for over 5 months and you're suddenly their teacher too!!
Being a small business, there was no option for support from the government, I couldn't shut down the business to furlough myself as we had students studying with us (who later had to suspend their studies as their exam couldn't take place), I wasn't classed as self employed so no funds from that route either. I just had to knuckle down and juggle life like I'd never juggled before! Hearing of people who were furloughed who had so much time on their hands just added to the frustrations. My husband working full time at home too but with no flexibility to help with childcare during 9-5 also lead to further feelings of unfairness!
With few options available to help, especially during those first few months into lockdown, I stumbled through each day. With around 4 hours of home schooling for each of my older children per day (and each of them needing me throughout each lesson!) plus the pressure to start working on phonics/hand writing/letter and number identification for my youngest who will be starting reception in September, most of my work was being done in the evenings...sometimes into the next morning! I look back now and don't know how I stayed sane.
I suppose for every stress/argument about fractions/head banging on desk moment asking "why aren't you getting this?" or "what's happened to your spelling?!" , there was the none school-related activities we made sure we did each day which added real joy to our day and were things that we perhaps wouldn't have experienced had it not have been for lockdown - making pizza, finding new walks locally to us, family quizzes on Zoom, baking, getting to know the neighbours better, more baking, running, cycling, movie nights, a family sleepover in the lounge and these are the things that I really want to remember from this time!
As time went on, we learnt to outsource some of the school work to willing grandparents via Zoom and, realising that COVID wasn't going to be going away any time soon, it was time to think of new ways of working. Although our 2 AMSPAR/City and Guilds accredited courses - Level 2 Award in Medical Terminology and the Level 3 certificate in Medical Terminology have always been delivered online, we had sessions booked at venues across the UK to deliver our Face to Face Introduction to Medical Terminology which we needed to rethink how we might run them.
I think most people discovered Zoom in lockdown and this seemed the perfect solution to help us continue to run our Introduction to Medical Terminology courses in a different format. We already had a great learning platform built, our portal, for our Level 2 and Level 3 students so we modified this to allow students to register, complete pre course and post course quizzes, follow a link to the session and to hold a certificate and booklet for students to print off. After lots of practice runs, and lots of technological challenges, we were ready to deliver our first course early August.
I'm pleased to say it was a huge success, one attendee left the most perfect feedback statement of "It feels like a light has been switched on and I now understand more of what I'm doing!" - we couldn't have put it better ourselves! Another lady stated that she felt more confident participating in online training than face to face sessions and other stated that the ease of access to the training was a huge bonus!
Now we're a couple of sessions into the training we have a rating of 4.7 out of 5 with 100% of attendees stating that the course offered value for money and 100% stating that they would recommend the course. Nothing will replace human contact, it's really daunting speaking to webcams and with NHS computers not being the most advanced we're just talking to names on a screen at times which is tough but there's so many advantages and a month after launching we now have over 150 bookings!
Working and managing family life during COVID-19 really has been a huge challenge but it's forced us to develop something we'd have put off and perhaps never got round to - but I'm so pleased we did!
Courses delivered over 2 x 2 hour Zoom sessions or during Protected Learning Time in GP practices
Ideal for administrative staff, health care workers, medical secretaries, managers, allied health professionals, anyone who may encounter terminology and wishes to learn more for example those applying for medical degrees.
The course covers the following topics:-
Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to book one of our sessions!