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The Learning Institute

The Learning Institute

#ThursdayThoughts from Claire, a TLI graduate

It's been 5 years since I started my Foundation Degree in Teaching and Learning with The Learning Institute. Tomorrow is the first day of the Autumn Term, and I am looking forward to seeing my Year 3 class again following the lockdown period, and getting back to some kind of normality.

I began my foundation degree with a certain amount of trepidation; would I be able to juggle working, a family and completing my assignments? Would I be smart enough, could I contribute anything worthwhile to the sessions? What if I tried and it didn't work out, how would I feel? I decided to go to the information session and try my luck; at worst I would look at everyone else, feel out of place and decide it wasn't for me. In fact the opposite happened, and it really fired me up, so I took the plunge in order to see how far I could get!

Although the lessons were pretty intensive to start with, there was a good mixture of reading, feedback and group activities. As I progressed I found that my role as a teaching assistant became much more interesting the more I learned. Many of the assignments required me to link my role in school with the subject I was writing about, and I began to feel that I had more of a voice in my school setting.

The 2 years flew by and although the workload was pretty intense I enjoyed researching and accessing the books on the University of Worcester online library, and I felt a real sense of achievement on completion of each assignment. After my first year I moved schools and became a High Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA). This was largely to test myself and see if I could control a class of 30 children before taking the next step towards becoming a teacher. The final year to top-up my foundation degree required me to work pretty autonomously, but by then I was used to studying; my friends and family couldn't believe that I had got this far and to be honest neither could I!

When I finished my degree I used the Schools Direct route to obtain QTS (qualified teaching status), which involved working alongside another teacher for a year, which wasn't a whole lot different to what I had been doing as a HLTA. I have just completed my NQT year, which involved online teaching as well as teaching other year group bubbles and key worker groups as well as my own Year 2 class.

I still get a kick out of knowing that I have a degree and I have never looked back following that initial information session. I'm so glad I took the opportunity to give university a try.