When she become a mum, Jenny’s life changed. She knew she wanted the best for her children’s development but as they left for school she had to trust someone else. That’s when she knew she wanted to become a teacher, to help other children too.
The countdown is on, only 3 more weeks until I embark on the latest stage of my career. Soon I will be a Trainee Teacher, embarking on what everyone keeps telling me, will be the hardest and yet most rewarding year of my life.
This new chapter is full of excitement with a hint of apprehension. Should my role entail only that of a Trainee Teacher, that would keep me busy enough. However, I also add wife, mother, daughter, friend, Parent Council Chair and owner to our 2 cats and 2 dogs at home.
My journey to this point has flowed in a somewhat smooth and orderly fashion. It certainly feels as though I have found the right path since having my children. After having my first 2 sons, I began volunteering at my local Children’s Centre. This role soon developed and after managing a team of 20+ volunteers over 2 centres, I was taken on as employed staff and became a Family Support Worker. As I developed, so did my role. I completed every course possible and often had 3 on the go at the same time. In addition to my NVQ’s, I also trained in many other areas, including as a Baby Massage therapist, Breastfeeding Peer Support Worker and group facilitator, to name just a few. My role as Family Support Worker introduced me to a sector that I was truly passionate about – working with families and children.
After the birth of my third son, I knew that I wanted to steer my career head on and develop my knowledge and options further. To do this I knew I needed a degree. I started a BA Hons in Early Childhood studies at Canterbury Christ Church University in 2017. The course was available to complete on-line and I was able to bypass the first year as I had already completed my NVQ Level 4 elsewhere. This option made studying possible with 3 younger children at home. I put every spare moment into my studies (which was often into the early hours), and 2 years later I finished with a first-class honour. My focus was to become a primary school teacher and after passing the required tests and my degree, I was offered a place on the School Direct program at my children’s school.
The want and interest to teach started as soon as I became a mum. I was enthralled about the young mind, attachment theory, schemas, development phases and the developing child. As my knowledge grew over time, I began watching my own children differently and understanding patterns in their learning and behaviour. My thirst for knowledge grew and I loved learning about child development, the important influences that children need in their lives to flourish and grow and once they started school, the impact that a positive teacher could have on them.
Once your children start school for the first time it feels like such a huge step and shift of dynamics in the home. I remember lying next to my eldest son the night before he started school while he slept, I had tears in my eyes. I felt so emotional that I would be handing him over to someone else every day, people that I respected but ultimately, did not know. My eldest son is most certainly my most sensitive and took 18 months to settle away from me at nursery, out of the 2 years he was there prior to starting school. So, imagine my surprise when he came home every day happy, tired, but happy. I began to feel at ease when taking him to school and walking him to the door. Instead of leaving with the thought, ‘please let him have a good day’, it changed to ‘I wonder what fun stories he will come home with today’. The school and teaching staff were providing him with a safe, happy and engaging environment.
The seed was planted – I wanted to be that positive influencer. Someone that the children felt safe with, engaged to learn with and that parents felt confident to leave their child with.
My role as a parent, in addition to my experience of working with children and families, meant that I recognised the importance of a whole family approach. My role as Chair of the Parent Council has recognised how successful parental engagement improves learning outcomes for the children. I hope that by putting these elements together, I have the important fundamentals to become a great teacher.
As a family, we will adjust to my new schedule. I am incredibly organised and have plans and systems in place to make things run as smoothly as possible for everyone. I have enjoyed showing my children the success of hard work and where dedication can take you. As we embark on this journey together as a family, I will remember the importance of family, both in the classroom and at home. Where there is happiness, security and hope – success will follow.