It’s now or never… have you ever got to the point in your life where you have to tell yourself is “it’s now or never”? Sometime we let these chances pass us by and once again this is what I almost did. It was when a big change happened in my life that I decided that this was my time to do what I wanted… nay, needed to do.
There I was, on the cusp of turning 29, living with my sister after my relationship fell apart, in a job that I had been doing for nearly nine years that was not going anywhere, and basically with nothing worthwhile going on in my life. At this point I decided it was my now or never time. So I went online and filled out the application I had considered doing for a very long time; to go to Uni, a chance I never felt I had before, and study education to then hopefully become a teacher.
That was until my application was rejected and I was hit smack bang in the face by a wall. What do I do now? Maybe I was kidding myself. Maybe this isn’t for me! These were the thoughts that very briefly crossed my mind until I talked some sense into myself. I thought there must be another way and explored the option of doing some higher education to help my application when I applied again the next year, as I was not giving up!
I ended up doing a Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) at Dundee and Angus College. I would 100% recommend this course to anyone…in fact I did! I now have two people I know who are doing the same course this year. This course really helped me with managing the workload that is demanded of a full time student, and Sue (my course leader) more than prepared me for what uni was going to be like. She was amazing at pushing me and giving me my confidence back, as well as being a total hard a** and making sure I had my work done on time. She is definitely a teacher I aspire to one day be like.
I’d love to sit here and tell you that teaching something that I’ve always wanted to do. Truth be told I actually wanted to be a pilot! I loved flying and through my childhood hobby of being in the Air Cadets, this is something I was able to experience from a young age. However, after I found out they don’t like pilots to have asthma, or eczema, or wear glasses etc., etc., I threw a tantrum and decided if they didn’t want me, I didn’t want them and considered other careers.
Naturally, being the naive entitled teenager I was, I changed my mind on my career many times from chef to receptionist to doing hairdressing. However, I realise now that, any career I choose, the part I enjoyed most was training others in the job I was doing. Teaching them this skill and watching them learn and master it with my help. This made me consider more and more the prospect of teaching as a career. The more I thought about it the more I wanted it… but there were setbacks that came into play.
One of the biggest setbacks was the loss of a parent. This led to our family moving from England back to Scotland. Then a couple of years later I became the sole carer for my younger brother. This meant me to having to find a job so I could support us both as he was still at school. That’s when I fell into dental nursing.
I was a dental nurse for eight, nearly nine years. I did enjoy the job. There was a lot to learn and through the years I worked my way up the ranks, so before I knew it I was at the top of my game, with nowhere else to progress. That’s when I started to take on the responsibility of training new nurses. Getting, once again, that chance to pass on my knowledge and experience to others. My managers and colleagues complimented my coaching skills on several occasions and told me I have a way of explaining things in a manner that is easy to understand. This helped me feel I could actually do this teaching thing.
But why primary teaching as opposed to secondary or higher education? That comes down to the kids and the usual cliché of loving children, but it’s true. Their wonder of the world and their potential unreached. I love the idea of being one of the influences on their life for what they can achieve in their futures. Even 24 years on I still remember so much about my first teacher and I hope one day my future pupils will think of me like that.
So I did SWAP, I got my Highers, I got my profile grades, I did my work experience and I once again applied for uni. Only this time… I wasn’t rejected. I was in! And I was so happy I cried. Literally!!! And this is where I am today. Starting my first year. Determined to do this because this is my time. This is my now or never.