At the end of week two
by Mathew Penri Williams
It was late 2019 when I decided to change my role at Nant Gwrtheyrn and to become a full-time tutor. The idea had always been at the back of my mind since I started working at the Nant five years ago. This was what drew me to work here in the first place, the fact that it’s a National Language Centre.
I officially started in my new role in January, excited and enthusiastic and hoping to have taught all levels by the end of the year. It all started well, with Taster and Entry level courses completed following some invaluable observation sessions with Shân (my colleague at the Nant and an excellent tutor). But my plan to qualify within a year was not meant to be, it would seem, with Covid bringing everything to a sudden stop.
After a few weeks of working from home, we were offered an opportunity to be part of a brand-new series of online courses being introduced by the National Centre for Learning Welsh in response to the situation. So, I went for it!
I now teach about 30 learners through Zoom every Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening, and so far, so good! These lessons are totally different to the intensive courses we offer at the Nant, and it’s such a good opportunity for me to gain a different experience. Even though it’s only been a couple of weeks, it’s great to see how all the learners are starting to get to know each other. This is one of the most special things about the courses at the Nant, the way in which the learners bond and interact with each other during the week. And this was one of the main concerns I had about an online course. How was I going to be able to create a community of learners through an online platform? But I’m pleased to say that it’s working , and everyone is getting to know each other by now. It’s incredible to think that I’m sitting in my kitchen in rural Llŷn teaching people from London to Liverpool, from Cambridge to Dorset!
Even though the learners have only had around four hours of lessons at this point, they have all been able to introduce themselves, to ask each other how they are, pronounce the Welsh alphabet, ask where they live, say a simple sentence about themselves, talk about what they enjoy and don’t enjoy and what they do during the week. This is quite an achievement for pure beginners all living outside of Wales!
I feel really lucky to be part of this special scheme and to be able to introduce the best language in the world to new people from all over the UK over the next few weeks….