Returning to education can be daunting for adult learners, but when you step through the doors at Redcar & Cleveland College, you will soon forget your hesitation and embrace the exciting experience.
For Libbie, 44, from Redcar, this is where she discovered her love for learning and passion for teaching.
And this September she gets to fulfil her dream, starting work as an early years teacher.
In 2013, Libbie was given the incentive she needed to pursue a new career as a teaching assistant, after being made redundant from her role as a receptionist after 11 years of employment.
Enrolling onto our part-time FdA Early Years, in partnership with Teesside University, she explained that studying the higher education course in her hometown was convenient and the best choice for her.
She said: “I have always been interested in children’s development and child psychology and I have a natural rapport with children, so the foundation degree was perfect for me.
“As a mature student embarking on a career change, I felt fully supported by the College, especially my tutor, Irene, who was a fantastic role model and inspiration, having been a mature student herself.
“She understood how difficult it was for me to juggle being a mother of three, working full-time and studying for a degree. Irene taught me how to manage my time effectively and make sure I allowed some down time for me, which is so important to keep yourself sane!”
After qualifying, Libbie secured a position as a teaching assistant and was encouraged by her tutors, Irene and Catherine, to enrol onto the BA (Hons) Education and Training (Top-Up) to achieve her full degree.
Speaking of her tutors, she said: “I cannot thank these truly inspirational women enough for encouraging me all the way to believe in myself and achieve my dreams.”
It was while working as a higher level teaching assistant at St Benedict’s Primary School in Redcar, that Libbie was given the opportunity to go on to complete her teaching training, qualifying this year with a PGCE and QTS through Carmel Teaching Training Partnership in Darlington and St Mary’s University in London.
Part of the Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT), St Benedict’s headteacher, Mrs Sill, supported Libbie all the way. Recognising her potential, she said: “Libbie is employed at St Benedict’s as she is truly committed to our school and brings so much to it; her care for the children and allowing them to grow and be the best they can is what drives her.
“Libbie has always shown that anything can be achieved and instils this in the children, working closely with parents and carers to achieve the very best.”
Mrs Sill added: “Libbie really does bring so much to St Benedict’s and with children at the centre of what she does, she gives them the best beginning any parent or carer and headteacher could hope for!”
Excited about starting her new role in September, Libbie said:
“I am absolutely over the moon to have accepted a full-time teaching position in the Early Years department at the school.
I won’t lie, it has not all been plain sailing to get to this point. There have been challenges along the way, but because of the excellent support around me at home, at the College and at work, I was able to overcome these and continue to give studying my best shot. Now all that hard work has paid off and I’m a primary school teacher.”
Libbie added: “Honestly, if I can do it, then anyone can; so never give up on your dreams!”
If you’d like to work with children and young people, click here to view our part-time higher education courses in partnership with Teesside University. It’s not too late to apply, we’re still accepting applications for courses starting this September!
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