In 2003, I wanted a job which would fit around my child when he started nursery. I heard about a pupil support position at Charles Dickens through a close neighbour who worked at the school. I applied and had an interview, which I was very apprehensive about because I hadn’t been in a formal working environment for five years. I got the job and my teaching career started.
It didn’t take long for me to realise that I was very passionate about my job, especially when working with disadvantaged children and those who struggle in school. This resonated with my own childhood and school experience, and I felt I could make a difference for these children.
I’ve now been working at Charles Dickens for twenty years and my career has developed hugely in that time. Currently, I am a year six class teacher but during my time here I have had several roles including: 1:1 special support assistant, teaching assistant, PE coordinator, HLTA cover teacher and finally class teacher.
Throughout my career, I have been supported and encouraged to develop and take on additional roles and responsibilities. I became one of the first HLTAs at the school, a role I continued in for 10 years, covering classes in KS2. During this time colleagues and the Headteacher advised that I should train to become a qualified teacher, and they helped me to identify a degree course I could do whilst working at the school.
Initially, I thought I was too old (45) to undertake a degree and change the direction of my career. I didn’t feel very confident in my own ability, but with the support and encouragement of all my colleagues, I decided to take the plunge. I did a 3-year degree which I completed with support from the school and then I applied for a School Direct position at Charles Dickens.
I finally qualified as a teacher in 2020 and have loved having a class of my own. Most recently, I have completed an NPQ in behaviour and culture.
I am still driven by the same passion I discovered twenty years ago. My favourite part of my job is seeing the progress the children make. I love watching their enthusiasm for learning and giving the children a positive educational experience (unlike mine). My biggest success so far is working with SEND children. Over the past four years I’ve had a number of SEND children, with challenging behaviour, who were unable to work in a class. With lots of encouragement and consistent high expectations and boundaries, these children have thrived in the classroom and have outperformed expectations.
I see my career continuing to develop at Charles Dickens. In the short term, I would like to become a year lead. In the long term, I would like to be part of the senior leadership team with a focus on SEND children, and children with challenging behaviour
For aanyone starting their career in education, I would say it is one of the most rewarding jobs that you can do. It is hard, challenging and exhausting but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Don’t do what I did…I kept putting off speaking to someone about progressing my career. The only thing that is holding you back is you. There are so many courses available, speak to someone in your school and follow your heart.
The degree I completed are currently recruiting for this September. If you are interested, you can contact Cayley Grant at email@example.com or Naz Tharia at firstname.lastname@example.org