Episode 4: Beginning a journey: classroom teacher to online tutor – with Annie Dehaney-Steven

Meet Annie Dehaney-Steven who, at an age when many are contemplating winding down to retirement, has instead decided to start My Learning Curve, an online tutoring service specifically aimed at teaching maths to “maths anxious”.

Today’s guest

Annie Dehaney-Steven of My Learning Curve

Facebook: Annie Dehaney-Steven

Former chemist turned maths and science teacher, Annie has recently established My Learning Curve, an online tutoring service specifically aimed at teaching maths to “maths anxious” young people for whom the regular school system didn’t really work but who now want to carry on learning.

As a teacher, her job was to help 16 year-olds to achieve the grades they need to continue with their education. Her mission with My Learning Curve is to provide maths education outside of the formal school system to those who are ready to take it and help them draw out what they’re already good at, particularly people who have already started in work but want to continue learning.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • The difference between “teaching” and “training”.
  • How Annie was influenced by her belief that she would never be good for anything other than teaching and that her age defined what she was able to do (and how she has overcome those beliefs).
  • How background and upbringing can influence the likelihood of going on to further education.
  • Why there has never been a better time for older women to become their own bosses.
  • What it’s like to find something from which you plan never to wind down and retire.
  • If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
  • The importance of doing something for yourself.

As you’ll hear, Annie would love you to get in touch via her Facebook page and let her know what can be done to make maths easier for adults and children to learn.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 4: Beginning a journey: classroom teacher to online tutor - with Annie Dehaney-Steven

Annie Dehaney-Steven
We do expect people who really are children to make lifetime choices. And if you don't come from a background where further and higher education are valued, what do you do? It takes a lot to change ideas that have been in your family for generations. I've had students...

Jeremy Cline
This is Annie Dehaney-Steven. She's just started a new online tutoring business called My Learning Curve. And she is incredibly passionate about helping young people achieve their best, particularly when it comes to the field of maths. She's got some pretty strong ideas about why some young people are being failed by the existing system, particularly when it comes to maths education. And she's got some ideas about what can be done to help them as well. And if you'd love to start something new, but you think you're too old, well listen in because Annie is going to show you just what you can do. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.

Hello, and welcome to the Change Work Life podcast, the show that's all about helping you beat those Sunday evening blues. My guest this week is Annie Dehaney-Steven, founder of online tutoring business My Learning Curve. I've actually known Annie for quite a few years, but mainly as a musician. She is an unbelievably talented jazz singer and brass player. And you'll pick up during the interview just how passionate she is about music. It was only relatively recently that I found out that she was planning to start her own business - that she was moving from being a teacher to online tutoring. So I really wanted to have her on the show just to find out why she was making this change and how she was doing it. She really is at the very start of her journey and it's really exciting to hear in the moment just what she's planning on doing. Do stick around to the end. Annie has some great ideas about how to better improve maths education. And she's really interested in finding out about your views on how maths education for adults can be improved. So if you've got an opinion on that, then stick around to the end, and you can find out how to get in touch with Annie and help her make maths education better. So without further ado, let's dive into the interview.

Hi, Annie, welcome to the show.

Annie Dehaney-Steven
Good morning.

Jeremy Cline
Good morning. It's brilliant to have you with us. Well, let's go straight in and very excitingly, I think you either have just started a business, or are in the process of starting your own business? So you can you tell us a bit more what you're doing?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I'm in the process of starting an online tutoring business. I'm a maths and science teacher, and a musician. I tutor, I teach in a college. But I also tutor face to face. But I've decided to start tutoring online groups of youngsters doing GCSE and a few one-to-ones. And I'm going to launch it in the summer. At the moment I'm writing all the lessons, writing all the resources.

Jeremy Cline
Fantastic. And is this something intended to replace your day job or supplement it?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
To replace it. I want to spend more time doing things I want to do. I'm getting married in the summer so spending time with my new husband and doing music, a lot more time doing music. But my earning power is through teaching - teaching maths and science. So this is the way to do it I think, and because it's going to be online and because curricula are much the same world over - and I've looked lots of them of the English speaking world - I should be able to reach anyone who is able to use their computer when I'm going out on the air so I can teach worldwide, a few groups, maybe up to 10 people at a time.

Jeremy Cline
Fantastic. So how did you get into teaching in the first place?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I started in science, I was a chemist for many years - an analytical chemist in a polymer company. And I enjoyed learning to do new things and teach my colleagues how to do new things, and I confused teaching and training. So I retrained as a teacher to teach science. The first college I worked in - science disappeared fairly quickly. I went in there as a pastoral tutor. Science - they got rid of science. And so I went from college to school teaching maths. I taught maths and science in a school for very disturbed children for about six months, which was quite hard. And then I found the college I'm in now in 2013. And I've been teaching science and maths there for the last five years or so.

Jeremy Cline
And so when you say you confused training and teaching, does that mean, actually you would rather have been doing training rather than teaching?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I think on hindsight, I would have been better fitted to training. Because training to some extent, implies a level of engagement - the person you're training - that you don't necessarily have with a child. Everyone I've taught has had to do maths, whether they wanted to or not. And my feeling is, unfortunately, that if a child doesn't get a good start in maths or come from a family where there's a good feeling about maths, once they get to the teenage years - which is the years I teach - it's very, very difficult to get them back. And if after 11 years of doing maths at school, they still feel uncomfortable about maths at 16 - it's an uphill struggle. I make it as pleasant as possible. And I do enjoy 16 year olds, they can be absolutely lovely. But very often they've been told how bad they are so much over the years, that it's very difficult to get them back to maths. When you're training somebody, they want to know more about something they want to do - be it for work, or pure interest. But they have chosen to do that by virtue of the fact they're working in that department. So they might want to learn more about something. It's just a different mindset, I think.

Jeremy Cline
Yeah, yeah. Okay. And so you say you teach 16 year olds - is that 16 year olds who are about to do their exams at 16? Or are you talking sort of post-16?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
Post-16. It's children who have taken their GCSE and not got the required level four, which is the equivalent of a C. If they go to college, they have to take it until they pass if they don't hit 18 first.

Jeremy Cline
Right. Yes, I can see the difference between that sort of person who maybe they didn't take to it, they didn't get the grade first time, as against someone who actually thinks, 'Hey, I need some training in a particular topic, so I'm going to go and get some training'.

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I was going to say I think the problem with 16 year olds is that - it's not a problem, we were all 16 once. They can't always see ahead, and they can't see that maths is important.

Jeremy Cline
Yes.

Annie Dehaney-Steven
Maths can be a bit of a Marmite subject. [Laughs]

Jeremy Cline
Yes. Absolutely. So going back. I'm still kind of curious as to what other options did you explore before going into teaching? Or did you explore other options before you went into teaching?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
No, I didn't. My story was a bit strange, because I hadn't worked for several years before going into science. I was my mother's carer. So I hadn't worked for 12 years and I went into science when I was 40. It was my first job in 12 years. And a new field because I'd taken my chemistry degree while I was looking after my mum. And I did love being a chemist, but I had absolutely - at age 40 - no life plan. I had no idea of what I wanted to do. I just wanted to do chemistry, I just wanted to work in a lab. When I realised that that working in the lab wasn't quite enough, I wanted to do more, my first thought was teaching because I thought that at 48 I probably wouldn't be good for anything else. I've changed quite a lot in the last 12 years. But I really did feel at 48 that life was coming to an end and teaching was where it was at. And I don't regret that move. Teaching has been fascinating. And I've learned a lot from it. I've met some wonderful people. And being a teacher has given me a chance to really explore myself for the first time. Twelve years of caring, I didn't even know whether I was ever going to work again - because I didn't know how long I was going to have mum. But the time I've spent in teaching has given me time to think things over and I'm very, very certain that education is the way. I'm also not convinced, and this is going to sound a little bit odd - that education when you're 16 is definitely the way. I think people think that if they haven't achieved by the time they're 16 they never will - whereas people are learning, you know, well into their 60s and 70s. I'm of the opinion at the moment that raising the school leaving age to 18 was a bit of a mistake in that when youngsters have been in the workplace for a few years doing a job they don't enjoy, they're more likely to come back into part-time education, and do well in maths and english. And another reason for wanting to do online tutoring is that I can be available for people after work and before work, times when I wouldn't necessarily be available.

Jeremy Cline
Yeah. It is kind of an odd system isn't it where you're almost expected to have make a lot of choices by the time you're 16 and 18 and, frankly, most people when they're 16, 18 and older - and I include myself in this - don't have a clue what you're doing or what you want to do or anything like that.

Annie Dehaney-Steven
No, we do expect people who really are children, to make lifetime choices. And if you don't come from a background where further and higher education are valued what do you do? It takes a lot to change ideas that have been in your family for generations. I've had students over the last few years who are going to be the first people to work in their family for four generations, who really want to work. I also have people who have three generations of non-workers behind them and they don't intend to work either. So it takes a very strong person to move out of a box that's been made for you. And I think we expect 16 year olds to to make some very sensible choices when they are just children. So learning later and learning at your own pace, at a time you want to learn, I think is the way to go about it now.

Jeremy Cline
I just wanted to go back to something that you said - when you decided, made the decision to go into teaching - you said you didn't think you'd be good for anything else. I'm just wondering where that came from, if that was purely an internal thing, or there were external influences?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I think I was a product of the idea that when you get to 18, if you haven't achieved you're not going to achieve. And so I had quite surprised myself when I took an Open University Chemistry degree, and got my degree in my 30s - especially since I was caring for my mum 20 hours a day and I had my children as well. I just used to study all night. And I surprised myself by getting this first job in 12 years doing something I really wanted to do - that amazed me. I think by the time I got to 48 and realised I wanted more, I felt that my luck could kind of run out - I've got a job at 40 having not worked since I was 28. And I thought I'd be very, very lucky to get anything. And teaching was the only thing I could think of that I knew I could do that would be of some use to somebody. And I also knew people who are my age, who were going into a teaching career. If you work in the further education fields - and I did some voluntary work in a college before I changed my career helping to teach English - you realised that an awful lot of people in further education are all second or third careers. You'll be a florist and then you'll go and teach floristry, or you'll be a nurse and then you're going to teach social care, health and social care. So I did know of people who had moved into teaching. And I knew people who'd moved into teaching who are older than I was. And it wouldn't have occurred to me to go and teach in a school or to train to teach in a school because I felt that young people went and trained a school teachers and they became school teachers for life. So it had to be a college teacher or college lecturer I retrained to be.

Jeremy Cline
And what made you think that as you put it, your luck had run out - that this was kind of the thing that you thought that you could go into - and you kind of make it sound as though you kind of thought that that was your only option?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I felt that my age was in my way. I felt very much that no one was going to look at a 48 year old novice. I felt that having got a job in science at 40 - and it was a job I loved, I had a lot of autonomy, I learned a lot from doing it - I felt I've been so lucky to get that, but you know, lightning doesn't strike twice. And I felt I've been so lucky, I've got this wonderful boss who'd taken me on, and he'd encouraged me a lot - he'd put a lot of faith in me. And I felt I'd be very lucky to have anyone invest that in me again. I no longer feel that, by the way. I know people a lot older than 48 who I would invest everything in. But it's difficult to think about it now. But things have changed a lot in the last decade, I feel, to be an older woman - which I was even then - it's a lot easier to be an older woman now than it was in the early 2000s.

Jeremy Cline
Do you see anything that's been a particular driving force in that change that means that now there are more opportunities?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I think more women have stood up and said, I am able to do this. I know there's a - I don't know what the numbers are - but there's been a big increase in women becoming their own bosses, which is what I'm doing. Small companies. Also, I think that the part of the the world where we live - where money is plentiful, and we have freedom - we're all out looking for that artisinal product. Everybody wants something that they can... they can see the hands of the person who's made it. So I don't know, Ben and Jerry's now belongs to some big company. But it started off as Ben and Jerry. And we like that 'small'... we like to feel that something is small and has been made by someone lovingly - someone who really loved making it. Body Shop - until Anita Roddick sold out - it always felt like something wonderful and meant just for us. I think we're all looking for that special product now, that is made just for us, which I think online education can be. It's one of those. And it's women in the main, I think who have driven that movement towards the best for my children, the best for me, the best for my family. Artisanal breads, good coffees, and good education I think are all part of that nurturing.

Jeremy Cline
So that's the sort of the the framework and the background that you're working in. And I'm curious as to why though, it's right for you. And it's right for you now. I mean, you're - you said you started teaching when you were 48 - you've been in teaching for 12 years. Anyone else who wants to do the maths...

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I've just done it, I'm 59! [Laughs]

Jeremy Cline
So why now? I mean teaching you know, absolutely it's a tough career. But I mean, I'm assuming it has certain perks with it, like, you know, there's the long holidays, there's pensions and that sort of thing. So it kind of seems like it would be the path of least resistance just to stick it out for a few years longer - and here you are starting your own business. So why is this something that you that you need to do now?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
There are a couple of reasons. One is, I have no young children anymore - my youngest child is 28. I am fully supported. So I'm teaching very part-time at the moment. In September, I stopped teaching full time to get ready to do this. So I'm teaching a few hours a week, I've got a certain amount of freedom. And that's really nice, I don't want to give up that freedom. Another reason for me is a little more political, really - I don't like the way the FE College system is going having worked in it since 2008 almost continuously. It's too much about money, and too little about growing students. I've had classes where a student will be doing their GCSE for the third time and where they don't turn up for the lessons. And they don't turn up for their vocational course either. But they're kept on the course because while they're on the course the college gets paid for them. It doesn't do them any good. They are students who would be far better told, 'I'm afraid you haven't got place for this year. If you want to come back next year, and you feel that you're able to work, come back and we'll give you a space.' Too many students at college are just waiting until they're 18 and they've got somewhere to go. Go to college - they've got somewhere to go. And while they're in college, and while they're under 18, their benefits are still paid. So they don't have anything that tells them 'I must work hard at this education, I must take this second chance'. Or 'I must go out to work'. There's not enough impetus. There's nothing to make them make a decision about what they're going to do. And I no longer want to be part of that - I'd rather be part of something where there's a small outlay, and you work and you get something for it. Having said that I'm not against free education. And I'm not for private education in any way. But I think education should be there when you're ready to take it. And there should be an amount of you giving to get something back. I have come to the point where if one more student says to me, 'You're the teacher, you've got to tell me the answer' I'm going to go mad. [Laughs]. Most don't do that. And in fact, this year - as I say, I'm working very part time this year - and my students are all kids who have been homeschooled, and they're taking their GCSEs at my college. And they are amazing, because they're very motivated. Homeschooling doesn't always work. And I'm sure I have some students for whom homeschooling has been disastrous. But it does mean that they are not waiting for someone to give them the answers - they will open a book and they will read and they will research and they will ask me questions. And I want more of that. I don't feel any more that I should be spoon feeding, I now feel that I should be helping people to draw out what they can do, because everyone is good at something. And in the FE system we're no longer looking at what people are good at, we're just seeing how many people we can get in the classroom for how many thousand a year. It's very much a money game, which is sad.

Jeremy Cline
You're clearly not I take it sort of just trying to find something to do for the next couple of years before retirement. I mean, I get the impression that this is this is more of a bit of a mission really, isn't it? Is that right?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I am. I am on a mission.

Jeremy Cline
So how long do you think...

Annie Dehaney-Steven
Well, I'll be doing this, I think for as long as I'm able to do it. But I'll be doing it on a very part-time basis. Five years down the line, I would like to be able to take my ideas on teaching and on using technology for teaching into schools and colleges. And see if we can change the way things are done. Whether some things are better done at home and then built on in schools and colleges - which should be entirely possible. Every child now has access to a smartphone. And I think if I can do some work using the internet for the next couple of years, I should be able to get some good ideas together.

Jeremy Cline
And so is there either a part of you, or others that you've spoken to - friends or family - who go, 'Come on Annie, you don't want to be embarking on this mission now. You should be winding down, getting ready for your retirement with your new husband', and that sort of thing?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
[Laughs] No, no, I don't ever want to wind down. I don't want to find myself waking up in the morning and not having a plan for the day. Even if it's just... if I plan to spend an hour online with half a dozen young people doing some maths or some science, that will be something to get out of bed for. I really don't want to retire.

Jeremy Cline
You can really see yourself doing this basically for as long as you are able to?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I will time my own demise for the end of a 12 week algebra course. So I will give my last 12 week algebra course, and then I will pop my clogs. And I will be well into my early hundreds I hope.

Jeremy Cline
Wow, that is some ambition.

Annie Dehaney-Steven
[Laughs] It's good to have something to aim for. Of course it will be my hologram teaching by then!

Jeremy Cline
Yes, it probably will. Yeah. Fantastic. So in terms of this sort of shift to online and all that sort of thing - is this something that you've just worked out yourself? Or even the shift actually from being a teacher, being employed, to starting your own business? Is this all something that you're you're kind of muddling through as you do it? Or have you had any sort of coaching or mentoring or anything like that to help you with this?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
When I decided that it was something I wanted to do, I found a programme called How to Tutor Online, which is run by a lovely educator called Deany Judd. And I bought her course. And I've been working through her How to Tutor Online course, which covers everything - covers all the background stuff, the making of a website and 'lead magnets' and stuff. And all I have to add is my expertise. And that's been absolutely invaluable. It's a course that takes a while - it's taken me the last couple of months to get through, and it's quite a complicated business. And I think you probably know how complicated it is to do these things. But I have my website under construction at the moment and my lessons are piling up on post-it notes on my study wall. But also, I have a Facebook friend called Nick Bertini who has a page called Just Play, and he deals mainly with musicians - and music is my great love. And I read a lot of his posts and I've been interviewed by him a couple of times. And I've been to a networking event that he was at. And he has been to me a great encourager. So the thoughts of teaching online that were in the back of my head... I slowly came to the realisation that they didn't have to stay in the back of my head - that I do have it within me to do what I want to do. Tutoring face-to-face, which I've been doing for a few years, and which is lovely, has given me the skills I need to dig down into the bits that people don't know. Sometimes you can be doing quite a complicated piece of maths and you realise when you've got someone in a small group, you realise that somebody has missed something very, very basic, maybe years ago. And it's quite easy to fix that once you realise that it's far better than teaching a whole class, it's far easier to see problems than when you're teaching a whole class. So really, it's it's Deany Judd, Nick Bertini, and face-to-face tutoring. They've all come together at the right time, at a time when I really do feel like a change. But I know that I don't want to stop.

Jeremy Cline
And just going back to the course you mentioned. I mean, I happen to think that there is a real place for online courses, it's a real good way of learning things - but there's just so much out there. And I think people do tend to be a bit sceptical as to whether they're going to get value for forking out, you know, I mean, they could be anything from 10 pounds to 10,000 pounds, I think for for some courses. So could we talk a little bit about how you were confident of taking this course - that this course would do for you what you wanted it to?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
Deany Judd's 'lead magnet', the thing that drew me in and made me give her my email address - I think I found it on Facebook - was very good. And then it led me to a presentation - she was doing a 40 minute presentation and she used all the online tricks to get me to watch this presentation. And I'm glad I did. She came across as being very genuine. And I belong to a Facebook group that she runs for people taking the course. And we have meetings twice a week that are not compulsory. But there's a great genuineness about her. So although choosing her was a leap into the dark, that first 40 minute presentation - which was free - cemented it for me. I then knew that I wanted to follow this course. And it's because of her online presence, which is quite important. I also know that when it comes to getting tutees it's a numbers game. There are a lot of people out there who will want some online support and I'm marketing myself for nervous students, which is the type of student I excel with really - I'm quite good at that.

Jeremy Cline
That was what I wanted to ask you actually. Now that you've decided you going down this route, how are you planning to build up your book, to build up your client base?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I'm writing my lead magnets at the moment. A lead magnet is something you give - a free gift you give - in return for an email address. And at the moment I'm writing, I'm making videos on how to use the seven equations you must be able to do for GCSE that you are no longer given in the paper. So you must be able to do them and you're not reminded which formulae you need at all. And my idea is that people will send me their email - I'm going to do an advertising thing - they'll send me their email, and I will send them each day a new video on how to tackle this sort of question. And then hope that they want to buy the course. I'm lucky in that if it doesn't work straight away, I've got time. I'm not going to give up if I don't get a full set of students by the end of the summer holidays. I have got time and I'll play the waiting game - I have got other things I can do. But it's just going to be getting out there and selling the courses as much as I can. I did some study - when I was taking a course in teaching maths because my degree was in chemistry - I did some study about maths anxiety, which is a real thing. And since then, I've been very aware that when people are anxious about maths, they are truly anxious. I mean, they get the palpitations, they get the inability to say anything without falling over their tongue, they break out in a sweat. It's a very, very real thing. And I've I've always been very good with teaching people who are quite scared, quite nervous of maths. And so I'm going to go for that sort of student - nervous sort of student - who wants somebody who understands how they feel.

Jeremy Cline
I think that's incredibly powerful. How you know who you're targeting, and you know what your niche is, you know, what your superpower is.

Annie Dehaney-Steven
Yes.

Jeremy Cline
And I think as people go into - or anyone who contemplates going into business for themselves - that's actually really important that you know who you're aiming for, and getting quite specifically.

Annie Dehaney-Steven
Yes. I think there are people who are going for the high flyers. There are people who only want to tutor A-level maths or A-level english. But I feel to an extent that those who are very good at something are going to be good no matter what their teaching at school or college is like - they're going to be good. I'm looking for the ones who don't think they can do it, because I know they can do it. It's just a different way of getting to them. So if I can present courses where I'm online with them once a week, and I've provided PDFs and I've provided videos, where they can practice what we've been doing, where I can answer questions, maybe online or via our Facebook page, which is much the way I do my face to face tutoring... I'm very much one for 'You can get in touch with me. You can ask me questions, I don't mind how far back we have to go to fix this problem.' I think what students need no matter how old they are - and I'm hoping to get some adult students who want to improve their maths - what maths students need is some success. And if you can show somebody who's never had any maths success that they can achieve something you're more than halfway there. Because maths is a mixture of knowledge and confidence. More than any other subject I think. No one in the world thinks they have to know anything about science - everybody thinks they have to know something about maths. And there is a great stigma to feeling uncomfortable about maths and I think it's time we worked on that. It's time we got rid of that and made it easier for people to say, 'I don't know how to do this, will you please help me'. And I think lots of us - I think all teachers - should be offering some sort of extra-curricular maths, be it online with their students or through Google classrooms, or through doing stuff on a Saturday in the local library. It's time to popularise maths in a practical way I think.

Jeremy Cline
Brilliant. That sounds absolutely fantastic. And good luck with it. I mean, I'm wholeheartedly behind you, I think what you're looking to achieve here - it just sounds absolutely unbelievable. Annie you've mentioned a couple of people who've really helped you sort of get to where you are now and help you get to where you want to go. Do you have any other resources or books or quotes or anything that that you can share that would might help other people looking to, you know, make some kind of a change?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
I think something that I keep in my mind when I'm not sure whether change is going to be possible is - it's an old saw and I don't know how useful people find it - but I remember that I'm not going to make any changes unless I make some changes. So I have kept myself going by telling myself that if I just trundle into college five days a week, and teach in the way that didn't work last week, nothing's going to change this week. If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. I think you have to remind yourself that nothing is going to change unless you change it. I think that's very important. I think one thing Nick Bertini makes me think of - his Facebook page, Just Play and his book Just Play - is I take 'just play' as meaning 'just do it'. If you want to do something, just do it - you will find a way to do it. When I was taking my chemistry degree I had three young children - one of them in a wheelchair - and I had my mother who was completely disabled. And the only thing that stopped me - two things - that stopped me from going around the bend were playing for a brass band, which I love, so for 4 hours a week, I had nothing to do but think of me - and doing my studies. And in the middle of the night when I was tired and the daylight was just about to come and I was going to have to go and look after somebody - mum or a child - it was the thought that at least I was doing my studying for me: it was something entirely for me. And it would make a difference one day. I can't say I always believed it would make a difference because I didn't think anyone was going to take a novice chemist at 40. But it's doing things for yourself. It's doing something rather than doing nothing, I think is very, very important. And I listened to a man when I was already teaching and I'd had a terrible time - we had three inspections all at one time at college. And I was on the edge of giving up teaching all together. And this lovely teacher trainer called Derek Hubie just picked me up and put me back together. And I think it's Derek Hubie, Nick Bertini, Deany Judd - and the fact that I'm a really stubborn woman - that gets me to where I want to be. And I know this is going to succeed. I may not be a world class entrepreneur in a year's time, but five years down the line I'm going to have made it and that's, you know, five years out of the next 40 is no time at all.

Jeremy Cline
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant Annie. Where can people find you if they want to find a bit more about what you do and what you offer and that sort of thing?

Annie Dehaney-Steven
Well, my website, it's under construction, but it will be live and buzzing very, very soon. I don't yet have a My Learning Curve Facebook page, but I can be reached through Annie Dehaney-Steven on Facebook, by private message or by public message. And that's it really. I would like - if I got anything out of today - I would really like to find out how people feel, how grown ups feel about maths and whether there's something we can do together to make maths easier for ourselves and for our children actually. I think too often we leave things to teachers, and we expect them to make mathematicians out of our children. But there are things we can do I think.

Jeremy Cline
There's an action point for the listeners if either you struggle with maths, or maybe you've got kids who struggle with maths and you'd like to reach out to Annie and talk about that, then do get in contact with her. Annie thank you so much. This has been absolutely fascinating. Yeah, it's been a really, really wonderful conversation. Good luck with it. And thank you so much for appearing on the podcast.

Annie Dehaney-Steven
Thank you, Jeremy.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, well, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Annie Dehaney-Steven, founder of My Learning Curve. Some great takeaways, particularly for me was this takeaway about how really it is never too late to start something. Annie described this desire these days to look for these homemade, these artisan products. And that doesn't just apply to a loaf of bread or a piece of cheese or whatever, but also to the sorts of service which Annie's offering, the tutoring service. And now it's just a great time to be starting to do this sort of thing. It's a brilliant time. And well Annie's just showing that it really is never too late. You'll find on the show notes page links to Annie's contact details. So do get in touch with her if you've got some ideas about how adult maths education can be improved, then get in touch. You'll also find the links to the resources that she mentioned. They'll be on the show notes page as well and you'll find all that at changeworklife.com/4 that's changework.life.com/4 - that's number four because this is Episode Four. If you want to be inspired by more stories like Annie's then do hit subscribe and you'll get your weekly dose of career change goodness. That's it for this week. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing you next week on the Change Work Life podcast. Cheers, bye.

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