Zanna's journey

Zanna F
25th November 2016

Zanna signing


“I enjoyed every second of my Makaton Regional Tutor training” said no-one as they returned home on day 5 of their Part 1 of Regional Tutor Training.

As it is a residential course, your family and colleagues think you have been on a pleasant restful week away. This couldn’t be furthest from the truth. From the moment you start on day one, you are submerged in the world of Makaton and it’s only on day five that you come up for air.

The days progressively get longer and after each day of vigorous assessments, you work through the evenings to prepare for that big assessment on Thursday. Throughout the week you experience every emotion possible: you want to try hard, learn more, get it right, give up, walk out, and sleep!

But I can honestly say that, looking back, I really did enjoy every second of it. I am proud of what I have achieved. I got the opportunity to work alongside some really lovely people and learnt so much from them and the Senior Tutors. And amazingly of all, I survived!

To be honest, I have sometimes felt a bit lonely since qualifying. Initially, it was a bit of an anti climax after all of the intenseness building up to it. Once I had my licence I was on my own for the first time. I am the only Makaton Tutor in my organisation, so I don’t have anyone to practice with, bounce ideas off, or check that what I am doing is right. For this reason I have stayed in good contact with people that I trained with, joined a couple of regional networks, and become familiar to the Makaton office staff.

I’ve found that I am in a ‘happy place’ when I start using Makaton and need to be around others who have that same feeling. After any time I have spent with people associated with the charity, I go away invigorated and motivated to jam more Makaton in to my day to day life. I hear how it works for others and adapt shared systems to meet the needs of the people I support. I learn new approaches and, best of all, I have the opportunity to check I haven’t fallen into bad habits with my signing.

I would strongly recommend to any tutor who has not yet joined a network to contact the office and find your nearest group. It’s hard completing the role on your own and meeting with others in a similar boat, gives you the support/contact you need.

Zanna SigningAll of my interactions with The Makaton Charity, have been welcoming and supportive. My peers on training, Senior Tutors, and the team in the office have all welcomed me into the Makaton family and helped me gain further knowledge and experiences.

I feel so privileged to have Jenny Rathbone as my sponsor and mentor. She has consistently supported me from the moment I sat the Foundation Workshop with her. She may live to regret saying to me on that day that she thought I had the skills to take this further, but since then I have been inspired and stalked her with ideas and questions to get to where it is I want to be. Jenny prepared me for the Makaton Regional Tutor training. I knew exactly what I was up for that week and Jenny even gave me the kick up the bottom I needed to be ready for it!

Since then she has encouraged me to develop further, given constructive feedback and the guidance I have needed to help me to progress. I am not sure I would have achieved as much as I have in such a short space of time if it wasn’t for Jenny and her unlimited contact and patience. As a Senior Tutor, Jenny went above and beyond to support me and for that I will forever be thankful. She didn’t have to give me her time and attention but this is just something I have noticed with everyone who works with the charity.

You don’t just get a licence when you qualify, you get an invite into a family that shares your passion and commitment to helping people communicate in a meaningful way!

See also: How to become a Makaton Tutor

At work

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1 Comment

  • Mary Newell
    02 January 2017 19:56

    Hi Zanna, very inspirational message! I have completed my foundation and enhancement courses in 2013 with Paul Holland. Absolutely loved it. But as you know with Makaton it is Use It or Loose It. I work in SEN school, we use Makaton but perhaps not as much as we could. I have higher ability groups who don't use it much. I remember how much I wanted to be a regional tutor but didn't had much support or someone to kick me! I wish I did it then. At school we have two staff trained as local tutors to train staff and parents, that is why I couldn't get support from school as we don't need more.....but I still want to become a Regional Tutor....
    Best wishes!