Rhiannon Norfolk | From learner to tutor and a business on the side

It’s been a journey that I could never have imagined. From deciding to try again after failing to learn Welsh when I’d tried years before, to hearing that my application to become a Welsh tutor had been successful – all in less than three years!

I’ve always enjoyed languages, but after studying Welsh for a year alongside my degree, I had to prioritise and gave up on the Welsh. It was only years later that I was driven to want to learn again and started classes with Learn Welsh the Vale. Shortly, I was hooked and making progress. This led to me being nominated for and eventually winning the “Inspire: Starting Out” award. I carried on, taking the Foundation level exam and some summer classes, when one of the tutors suggested that I should skip the Intermediate level and go straight to the Higher level classes. I was delighted, but eventually decided to do both the Intermediate and the first part of the Higher class during 2019-2020, so I didn’t miss out on anything. I also attended a proficiency course focusing on Welsh literature and made lots of new friends there too. Throughout my time with her, my tutor started hinting that I might make a good tutor myself, but I thought that it would be a long time before my Welsh was strong enough to do so.

During 2020’s strange times, I’ve been fortunate to be able to continue using my Welsh in a variety of ways – from online classes, a reading group in a friend’s garden (when permitted) to setting up my own jewellery making business (Gan Rhian) which is bilingual. This developed out of other adult learning experiences, as over 2019 I had taken various jewellery classes run by Vale Courses, Cardiff Council and individual tutors.

Since September 2020, I have been studying the third level of the Higher course, and was approached by Learn Welsh the Vale when an opening came along for a place on the casual staff team to teach new beginners. Their confidence in me and my abilities has given me more confidence in myself. There will also be all sorts of training available, so I can carry on my own education.

I’m really looking forward to January and my first lessons – I can’t wait to share my love of the language with others!