“My decision to study at Carshalton College was influenced by the college’s location as it is situated close to my place of work and home. I chose to pursue a degree in Education and Learning Studies because it is my passion to educate and aid in the development of children. Being employed as a Higher-Level SEN teaching Assistant, I find it rewarding to help with development and moulding of the minds of young children. Helping to educate and enhance childrens’ skills and abilities is fulfilling to me, and it is because of this that I have decided to embark on this course to further develop and enhance my skills and understanding of how to best enable young children to learn.
I was apprehensive to the idea of entering Higher Education because I was a mature student who have not been in education for quite a while, so the thought of competing with young students was unsettling, but upon first arrival at the college, I realised I was not alone. There were loads of other mature student and the teachers were approachable and friendly yet professional in their manner. The classrooms were similar to the previous classrooms I was used when I attended school in my younger days which allowed for group interaction compared to those frightening university seminar rooms.
The course was very informing, and I enjoyed group discussions and learning about what other settings did in comparison to my educational setting. I also enjoyed learning about the different theories and ideologists’ views behind the different educational practices and cognitive development of children. Even though the most enjoyable model for me was the Special Inclusive module. Being a SEN Teaching assistant, this particular module allowed for me to deeper research and understand teaching methods to adapt in our daily teaching pedagogy. I also enjoyed evaluating sensory intervention as part of my work-based enquiry because it provided me with the opportunity to closely observe and monitor the children progress over time which I believe will be in be helpful in enhancing my practice.
Teaching was very good to be honest. Tutors were supportive and allowed opportunities for peer discussions. Different methods of teaching style and assessment was used to provide equal opportunities and as such has helped to highlight the variety of teaching styles I could use as a teacher later on.
Fitting in study around work and family was very difficult at first. As a mum of 3 kids, age 11, 7, and 6 working full time, it was very difficult, and I had to learn how best to manage and utilise my time. In my first year, one of the first requirements was to create a study timetable, this helped a lot and I still use it today. I had to prioritise submission dates and dates when I had to attend college. At night after putting children to bed, I would try and catch up on readings and work. But luckily, I have never missed a deadline and my family seem to understand “mummy’s hard work” However, I try and give a treat or outing with the family, when I can to ensure family time, and I still managed to complete weekly homework with my children and listen to them read daily. But it is very hard at times and challenging.
Ideally, I would like to become a Primary SEN Teacher helping children with special educational needs achieve their full potential. However, I have recently started looking into other career options such as a Speech and Language Therapist or Occupational Therapist, whichever one I just know I want to work with children.
My advice to other students is simple; follow your dreams. It will be challenging but rewarding. I have met a great bunch of people that have become my friends and will become part of my future life. Studying this course has boosted my confidence and self-esteem as well as opening doors to a lot of avenues for a rewarding career.