What are you doing now?
I work on the outskirts of Sheffield teaching in an alternate provision, working with and supporting vulnerable young people in every aspect of their lives, from schoolwork to housing. My current role is a Student Support Worker, which covers many things including teaching a variety of lessons, pastoral support, family support, and safeguarding duties. I got my current position via my university degree as I was learning on placement when I was offered the job.
After leaving South Craven I completed my degree in Education Psychology and Counselling at Sheffield Hallam University, graduating in 2018. I was always told when I was younger I would make a good teacher, so when it came time to pick my university course I decided to follow everyone's advice. I knew I didn't want to be a teacher of a specific subject in a mainstream school - I’d studied Psychology at A Level so the Education, Psychology and Counselling degree sounded perfect. My main goal was to choose a degree that would enable me to help people, as well as incorporating all the things I enjoyed. My inspiration for choosing a degree where I got to work with vulnerable children was Miss Honey from Matilda - I wanted to be someones Miss Honey, to help them thrive and live their own happily ever after, no matter how difficult that might seem to them.
Throughout my university degree I worked in Year 2 and Reception classes as a Teaching Assistant. I also worked on a farm supporting young people and adults with learning disabilities. The thing I most enjoyed about the course was the variety of subjects as the course was split into 50% Education, 25% Psychology and 25% Counselling. Getting to know how the three overlap and can be used together was really interesting. I enjoyed learning how processes from psychology and counselling are used in education today and how to use them to improve myself, as well as how I would educate students in the future. My favourite unit was 'Exclusion and Inclusion in Education Context.’ I really like exploring what we are not taught and why - I’m still mindful of this unit during my own teaching, and is particularly relevant working in an alternate provision.
The support of my teachers and friends at South Craven meant I had the confidence to go to university, meet new people and explore career paths that I never knew existed. The best part… I met my fiancé at South Craven!
What advice would you give to your 17-year-old self?
Ask for help and say no!
I was so scared to ask for help at school and thought it was such a bad thing, but if you need help then ask - someone will always be willing to help you! Whether it's asking for help from your class teacher or someone you really trust, asking questions will help you grow and learn and that can only be a good thing.
I still don't say “no” enough now but it’s something I wish someone had said to me. You don't have to please everyone at the expense of you and your health (mentally and physically). It's a small word, but saying no is a massive thing.
What are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of my career - working with vulnerable students has its challenges, but after my placement in my third year at university (in my now job) I knew that I just couldn't leave. The relationships I’ve built with students are worth the tears and the tantrums, and the most rewarding thing is you get to watch them grow and have their own happily ever after… then they come back to tell you all about it!
I’m also proud of passing my driving test at 24 years old and after six tries! I know that's a lot, and I was so close to quitting but each time I persevered a little longer, and it all paid off in the end. If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again! I’m now the proud owner of Nigel - my blue Toyota Aygo!