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The Learning Institute

The Learning Institute

Life after TLI - Tasha's story

My Foundation Degree and Teaching Journey - written by TLI graduate Tasha

My personal journey began with me being marched down to an introduction for the Foundation Degree by my line manager and the class teacher I worked with, with me saying “I don’t want to do it!” and “I can’t write an essay!”. And that is where it all began!

My work place was very supportive and encouraged me to do the course, even though I was very reluctant to begin with. I had been working there as a Nursery Nurse, however I had also been working as an unqualified teacher in the nursery for many years. So, it really was about time I achieved that ‘real qualification’ and become the teacher I wanted to be.

Before I knew it, I was enrolled and starting a university degree at the grand old age of 43! Although I have been told all my working career that I should be a teacher, I don’t think I had the belief I could go through the process of becoming one… by that I mean uni!

I had two teenage boys and my husband has to travel with his job, and as well as this I was working full time at Alec Reed Academy, where I supported in the reception classes. This therefore was going to be a challenge! Juggling work, home, family and now uni work was tough, and I would find myself beginning my uni work at 10.00pm, when I had finished running the boys to and from their swimming club every night. However, it soon became the ‘new norm’ and I adjusted very quickly.

I’ll never forget the first essay I wrote!! It was shocking! It was so bad I didn’t even recognise it as my own when it was sent back after being marked! I laughed then and I can still laugh now. The first year flew by, and slowly I was in the swing of researching, essay writing and referencing. And there was an improvement in my grades!

At the end of the first year, I had a very personal and sudden trauma to deal with. Somehow I continued to be strong and approach the second year knowing I had to do this - I owed it to myself and the person who had believed in me the most. Year two was important, and I needed to get through the foundation degree with a good pass, as this would then be my path into the top-up year. I put all I had into it and yes, there were some ups and downs, but I continued. The feeling of achievement when I went to graduation was overwhelming, and suddenly all this became real!

This spurred me onto the third and final year, which was going to be the hardest of all! Was I really going to be able to do this?? This year it mattered. All grades for any essay I wrote counted towards my overall degree. Also… I had the task of writing my dissertation - 9,000 words! I chose my topic for my dissertation, and I picked a topic that was of interest to me and of benefit to my work place. I ended up with a 2:1 for my degree, which for me was a huge achievement and something I didn’t believe I could do.

So! Yes, it was hard, and there were times I hit a brick wall! However, the support that each of my tutors gave me was phenomenal, and they really were there to encourage and guide me all the way. Also, the support from other students within the group was unconditional, and we were always there for each other as we were all literally in the same boat!

I would recommend this degree, and I would really encourage anyone to do this course, especially if you want to go into teaching. It may be daunting and scary to begin with, but the fulfilment and achievement you feel at the end is worth everything! You can look back and be so very proud of what has been achieved.

In between all of this, I also had to sit three GCSEs: maths, English and science. I found this more difficult than anything. This by far was my hardest challenge, and I was not successful in maths and science on my first attempt. I persevered and kept going as I knew I needed this to be able to teach. In the end I was successful and passed! Yay! And this really was the beginning of a new career for me.

So, this all began in September 2015, and in January 2022 I finally gained my qualified teacher status, and I am now embarking on my ECT year. Achieving the degree and my QTS has been a huge achievement for me, and I am now the teacher I always wanted to be!