This blog loves to feature mums who take charge of their lives in ways large or small. If you have a story to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Today I am sharing the story of a mum who volunteers and is also committed to lifelong learning. After reading this I hope you will check out volunteering opportunities in your own community.
Here is Linda’s story of a mum who volunteers
1. What made you decide to take up teacher training?
I wanted to be a primary school teacher at 18, but I didn’t get my Maths GCSE grade C, I got a D. I wasn’t allowed on the teaching course so I had to take another path and studied languages instead. I didn’t know back then that I could have maybe taken a year out and then tried again to apply for a teaching course. After having my children I realised that I couldn’t work full time anymore, financially it couldn’t work for us. I was a teaching assistant in a secondary for 2 years. I loved it and this made me want to be a teacher again. The added bonus would be that I would have the same school holidays as the children.
2. How did you feel when you first started looking into it?
Once I made the decision I couldn’t wait to get started. It wasn’t that easy to the find the right course though. I knew I definitely wanted to be a teacher but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to teach languages as that is my degree (Italian and Russian). In the end I found a part time course offered by Bedford College in which I would be able to teach travel and tourism (my professional background) to college students in further education colleges. This is perfect for me as I am still very passionate about the travel industry.
3. Tell us more about what the training entails?
The course is a two year part time one which fits in well with my family commitments. I go to college as a student one day a week. As part of the course I have to have a teaching placement in a college, so I teach (on a voluntary basis) in a further education college one day a week to complement my studies. At the college where I have my placement I have a mentor who works with me. I have 3 assignments a year to complete and in these assignments we have to show how we can relate the teaching practises we learn about to our own teaching.
After two years, if I pass everything, I will be qualified to teach in further education colleges as well as students aged 14+ in schools.
4. Where do you hope the training will take you?
I love working with teenagers/young adults who display challenging behaviour and would like to specialise in teaching this group. I also mentor young offenders at a young offenders institute and would consider teaching there in the future. I just need more experience before I can take this type of role on.
5. Have you ever felt, even briefly, like giving up the training? If so, why was that?
Not at the moment, but it may happen soon! I have an assignment due at the end of this month and motivation has been low!
6. How have family members responded to you doing this training?
My husband was a little unsure at first as I can sometimes start things and not complete them, but he has seen how serious I am about teaching and has been supportive. He tries to help out around the house more which has been great. My kids have been fine and love hearing about my students and how they can misbehave in my lessons.
7. What was challenging about taking on the training?
The biggest challenge was writing the assignments and believing that I could do it. I graduated in 1995, so 18 years had passed since I’d last written anything so academic in nature. I was so stressed writing the first assignment, I wasn’t sure I could do it or whether it would be at degree level. Thankfully it was and I passed.
Looking after the household and making sure the kids keep up their homework is a continuous challenge. However my husband is more aware of what the kids need to be doing and so is taking on the homework duties.
8. What would you say to a mum who was thinking about returning to learning/re-training?
To definitely have a go if possible. It can be frightening being a student again, however if you can afford it financially it will be immensely worth it. You’re also teaching your children that it’s never too late to make your dreams a reality.
I now know that if I had done this course 22 years ago I would have struggled academically. However, over the years I have read a lot and learnt how to write reports. In these reports I have had to justify why I should be given funding for events and had to back this up with evidence. This has helped me with my assignment writing. I also know that I don’t want to fail this course and for people to think that I’m a failure.
9. What qualities do you think you will bring to teaching?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and I think this passion shines through when I teach. Originally I wanted to teach primary school age, however I find that I have a real affinity with the troublesome older kids.
I discovered this whilst working as a teaching assistant. I watch football, know about music (hard core hip hop too!!) and cars. During the lessons with the very troublesome lot I would find a common ground with the boys, and by surprising them with my knowledge of cars and football, they would see me as someone they could talk to. By breaking down these barriers they would settle and actually do some work.
With the girls, my knowledge of music will break the ice and they too see me as someone who “is actually OK” (my students’ words). It’s this quality of me taking an interest in them as people that is helping me work towards being a good teacher. I’ve still a lot to learn but I’m on the way to achieving my goal.
10. Is there anything else you would like to share with Groovy Mums?
Life as a mum can be really tough. You’re constantly juggling trying to be a great mum, a good wife/partner and having some time to be “you”. If going back to your studies or training is something that will give you back an identity then I would say just go for it. My daughter is physically disabled and my husband suffers from Crohn’s Disease. Over the past 4 years both have undergone numerous operations. It’s been really tough.
Now that I am training to be a teacher and mentoring young offenders, I am doing something for me. When I’m teaching or mentoring I don’t think about my family, and while that may be selfish it’s actually quite nice.
Big thanks to Linda for sharing her story of a mum who volunteers and inspiring other mums. Do you have a story about a mum who volunteers and helps society?