My first job was marking Kumon maths papers for <$5/hr. I was 15 years old at the time. Here’s 8 things it taught me.
1) Study the founder of movements you join or enrol your kids in. This avoids culture shock.
Toru Kumon was a Japanese maths teacher and 26/8 Boss lifepath, who created the system in the 1950s. 8’s are often self-taught, disciplined, workaholics. If you think of energy like fashion, it becomes obvious why his ‘vintage Asian style’ of repetitive homework suits some kids way more than others. Find your life path
2) Maths skills can make you lots of money (whether you own a Kumon centre or not).
It’s vital to master maths, as it develops your confidence with figures. That’s crucial for negotiating big ticket items and running a business etc.
Similar to Kumon sheets, I still hand-write my numerology templates and ask students to do the same. The hands are the tips of our heart chakra and carry healing power.
3) Not everyone thinks service needs a smile.
Just as the Kumon logo is a serious face, I was forbidden to chat to kids when I marked their papers. My manager* was a dictator, as were many of my subsequent bosses. No wonder my goal nowadays is kindness. *Every centre will be different.
4) Silence can be violence. Questions were discouraged in Kumon. Kids were supposed to solve their problems alone. While I understand the merits of ‘not rescuing’, this felt extreme.
Unlike adults, kids have come from Spirit so recently that it’s cruel not to let them talk to and teach us. I encourage sharing in all my classes, especially from younger children.
5) Titles are misleading. You don’t need teaching qualifications to be a Kumon tutor. If you do go to one (or any coaching school), be sure the staff have had background checks and care about learning, not just earning. Ask what inspires them and who they admire.
6) Self-criticism gets you to the top but self-care is essential so you don’t pop!
I was fired from Kumon after missing shifts due to drama class. It was a great lesson in being treated like a number. It felt like my high school, James Ruse (90% Asian), where we were told that ‘if you flunk, 8 students are waiting for your place’. I used to cry over losing 0.25% in tests!
Toru Kumon said there must always be something better – there is no progress when we think: ‘This is good enough.’ I used to agree with this but now see it as a recipe for burnout. It’s safe to relax and receive. The best ideas come when we let go. Success is balance (something many 8 lifepaths struggle with).
7) Capitalism is exploitative. The manager was receiving hundreds of $ a class yet paying me <$5/ hr (low, even in 1996) for marking paper after paper. You can tell a person’s character by how they treat ‘minions’…This is why I put people before profit in my psychic business.
Life is funny. I never thought my Kumon experience being timed to do calculations would be useful, until I became a numerologist who teaches ‘mathe-magics’ and crunches numbers on radio (listen to interviews). The joke is on me.