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Our 10th birthday blog from Jean

From me to you.

Ten years ago my expected pathway was moving on from a Deputy Principal to a Principal role so imagine the surprise from everyone when I announced that I was stepping into business and beginning a Tutoring company!

Originally called MathZwise, using a franchise model by the talented  Kathy Redwood, this allowed me to step into the business world but still running my own ship so-to-speak.  I will always be grateful for the 5 kids and parents from Pirongia School, Waipa area who walked into the small room I leased at Pirongia and began a Tutoring journey with me.

I am also especially grateful to my husband, Les, who actively encouraged me to make the move even though we went from two incomes to 1 and a tiny bit!

Following this I began a few rented hours in the Te Awamutu I-Site and vividly remember sitting there alone waiting for students. Quite some contrast to the hustle and bustle of changeover times in the Impact Education Hub now.

It has been a privilege to meet so many families and see children, and some adults too,  gain knowledge and skills they may never have known they could achieve. Believing in yourself is key to all learning along with the simple fact that we all just want to be noticed hence the phrase ‘Because you count’ created as our business phrase. Les and I like the cheekiness of it too with the maths theme.

It has also been a privilege working with all of the Tutors who form the key part of Impact Tutoring. I am proud of the diverse range of Tutors we can offer with their varying personalities, styles and backgrounds. But I would particularly like to mention Hamish McAlley who has worked with me for approx 9 ½ years. He has been with me through all our evolving developments as a business and I have simply lost count of the number of students, adults included, who he has taught varying levels of Maths to.  All this while maintaining an incredible level of achievements at Waikato University.

When I began, New Zealand was still some way behind other countries in their attitudes to Tuition but this has certainly changed over this time.  It is now as accepted as Music and Sport lessons as a possibility for your child.  I  remember getting my first teacher referral from a Principal and her son after beginning at 14 months and I really knew then that I was on to a great thing. The graph of my business results changed dramatically for the better after this! 

Likewise gaining the award as Winner of New and Emerging Excellence at the Waipa Business Awards two years after beginning the business was a fabulous boost and helped to make us more known and trusted in the educational world of Waipa.

Two major events will stick with me at all times. The first a flood in November 2020 caused by a huge weather event which meant a torrent of water flooded into our building down the walls.  How lucky to have a supporting staff who continued tutoring despite this, Dairy NZ group of guys studying here that day who rushed around saving things and to our fabulous Landlords, the Reymers, who swung into action to mop, dry and bring the building to right again.

The second event of course Covid, what a massive upheavel to education throughout the world. I would like to thank Jess Amoore and the Tutoring team who blinked then swung into action learning VERY quickly how to use Zoom and maintain our connections with our students. The perseverance by the Tutors was incredible, most of them who had not ever worked with online tutoring before. Being one of the only Tutoring businesses in the area who kept on keeping on I was enormously proud of the team and what we were able to offer at this time for our Impact community.

Ironically Covid opened doors for us and we now have Tutors and students in other parts of NZ including Kerikeri, Gisborne, Canterbury and Auckland. Our online work is as important as our In-person tuition and it is a pleasure hearing from families in other areas – all with the same issues of course no matter where they live.

Two positive events were buying the business outright from MathZwise quite early on and switching to Impact Tutoring. Now we were able to be on the path I wanted with multiple topics on offer including Literacy and the Sciences.

It has also been great moving to our current location which has raised our profile in Te Awamutu and presents itself as we want it - a professional, funky, modern learning space. I have even managed to squeeze in my love of art with little pieces of art and sculptures about too. 

Along the way I have been offered incredible opportunities including the Community Enterprise Leadership Foundation placement where I was able to mix regularly with other Waikato leaders in both not-for-profit and commercial businesses.  Plus my passion of Mathematics for a Lifetime Charitable Trust which I founded running this business similtaneously at the same time as Impact.

I have always considered my calling is to teach and my life so far teaching in schools and then creating Impact Tutoring has been an amazing personal journey. This includes not only teaching students but empowering people such as my Tutors to be the best they can be.

Impact continues to evolve with an amazing Management team of Hamish, Narelle, Erin, Jenny, Reese and Kaeden who juggle their roles with Tutoring, Online course designing, Administration and business planning. Plus our current Tutors Margaret, Christine, Katie, Paul, Luis, Colleen, Anna, Andrew, Ritvik (In Sydney), George and Sarah. We have had many other Tutors too who have equally made an impact.

Who’d have thought with the beginning of 5 children in a small room in Pirongia? 

Because we all count.

Jean McKenzie


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