I worked for HM Revenue and Customs as a tax advisor for 12 years before deciding to come to university. Although I was reasonably happy in my job, it was exactly that – a job. Due to my age, I thought that I had missed out on having a career that I was passionate about. I went through some changes in my personal life that made me think about my achievements and it made me realise that I had not focused on reaching my full potential. As a single father to twin boys, I thought that if my children grew up and didn't pursue their dreams, I would do everything I could to encourage them to do so, so why wasn’t I? As well as wanting a rewarding career, I also wanted to be able to provide a more comfortable life for my children.
I researched the courses available and realised before starting university, I would need to complete an Access course. I completed the course at Sunderland College and while doing so, applied to local universities. I had interviews arranged at several universities, but the day after my interview at Sunderland, I was notified that I had been offered a place. As it was my first choice, I withdrew my applications from the other universities.
I have lived in Seaham all my life and so the University of Sunderland is my local university. I had researched the reputation of the Education department and was impressed. My sister, who is now a deputy headteacher, had studied there previously, and had only positive feedback about it.
The BA (Hons) Primary Education course is very interactive, with several different teaching styles offered. From year one, you are asked to do things that may take you out of your comfort zone, but it is all in preparation for your future placements. The course prepares you for life in the classroom by presenting opportunities to develop your teaching style. Ultimately, the best part of the course is the classroom practice. However, the quality of teaching received before you enter a classroom is what makes it enjoyable.
I would highly recommend the University of Sunderland. The resources available and teaching staff have been great. The lecturers are passionate about what they teach and are more than happy to support you when you need it. I would advise prospective students to do their research – speak to lecturers and make the most of open days. The University of Sunderland is a welcoming place and everyone is there to support you to reach your full potential.
As graduation is approaching, I am now in the process of applying for jobs, and I am hopeful that I will secure a teaching job by September. Initially, I will concentrate on becoming the best classroom teacher I can possibly be. As I become more experienced, I aim to become a Key Stage lead and eventually part of the senior leadership team.
My experience of studying at Sunderland will always be looked back on as a positive one. It was all I expected and much more. Although challenging, it was very enjoyable. When looking back at the person I was when I started, I can honestly say that it has changed who I am for the better. The University has not only developed me academically, but has also made me realise that, with hard work, anything is achievable.”
Published 19 May 2020