Inverbervie French teacher, Jill Simpson, has been honoured recently with two very special awards. Your Job looks behind the fascinating story of Jill and her career path
In a small room in the local community hall in Inverbervie, mum-of-one Jill Simpson started her first French class attended by her daughter and just a handful of local children.
Classes continued each week around the stresses and strains of a busy family life and the class gradually grew. Fast forward 15 years, Jill now heads one of the most successful and thriving businesses under the licence of the renowned and award-winning La Jolie Ronde Languages for Children network.
Jill currently teaches weekly French classes to abound 100 nursery and primary-aged children in her French Centre which is a beautifully converted old bank in Inverbervie.
Having a young daughter was Jill’s inspiration to start teaching French; also time spent studying, living and interacting with school children in Clermont-Ferrand, in France, had shown her how readily and eager young children are to learn other languages.
“My real passion for languages started when I was at school where I was fortunate enough to study French which then took me to develop my passion further and read French and Sociology at Salford University,” Jill said.
“That, together with my time spent abroad living and breathing everything French made me realise that I wanted my daughter to share and experience the different languages and cultures of the world.”
It is testament to the success of learning with La Jolie Ronde that Jill’s daughter studied three languages at St Andrews University and is currently studying for an MA in Translation for Business with French and Spanish.
So, Jill set about teaching her daughter and some of her friends. Over time word got around that learning French was fun under her tutelage, and she was contacted by many parents wanting their children to learn French too; so began her French language learning company “French for Children Inverbervie”.
Initially the “classroom” at the local community hall was fine, then one day an unusual opportunity came up. Jill and her family live in what was once the bank manager’s apartments above the local bank, and in 2006 the bank branch was closed and the banking premises became available. So Jill and her husband decided to buy the premises and convert the banking hall into her now thriving language centre.
To help filter inquiries more efficiently Jill launched her own company social media page www.facebook.com/French-for-Children-Inverbervie. The site provides up-to-date information on class times and venue and helps Jill to keep in touch with her pupils and their parents.
Jill was made a La Jolie Ronde area co-ordinator for the north of Scotland and many other teachers within the network have benefited from her considerable experience. She also regularly helps the company update and develop new programmes.
Jill was recently honoured with La Jolie Ronde’s Licensee of the Year for Scotland and the North East of England. 2014 also marks Jill’s 15th year with La Jolie Ronde and Jill was also presented with her 15-year Service Award.
General manager for La Jolie Ronde Steve Baker said: “Jill is truly inspirational and her incredible commitment, dedication and drive has meant so many children over the years have benefited. Jill’s passion and professionalism together with her enthusiasm for languages, shines through making her such a great ambassador. We are so happy to share these fantastic achievements with Jill and hope to share many more years with her too.”