1. What’s my job title and where do I work?
I am the Learning Improvement and Development Manager at The Sheffield College. I’m an English teacher by trade.
2. What am I currently working on?
All kinds of different things. I guess the three most exciting (and largest) projects are:
- The launch of new T&L initiatives across the college, including the Mini Learning Project becoming the Big Learning Project.
- The trial of a new approach to onboarding and induction for all our staff to ensure they have the best experience possible at the college.
- Exploring how staff development can better measure impact and engage staff with learning in new ways.
3. Where have I come from?
I’m originally from North Yorkshire but I did my growing up in my adopted home of Newcastle upon Tyne from the age of 18 onwards.
I began believing I would become an archaeologist (at the age of 8). I spent subsequent years obsessed by ‘Time Team’ and then I remembered about chilblains and wellies and getting cold: the reality of the job didn’t seem so great anymore. Having said that, I still hold a hope that I will discover the bones of a dinosaur one day. I applied to study speech therapy at university but things didn’t really work out where that was concerned. I ended up studying English Literature and Art History and I worked in a contemporary art gallery for a number of years. It was once I started working in further education in 2008 that my career really began. I was on the Information, Advice and Guidance desk one day, enrolling a group of NEET students on a programme of study, when I made the decision to go into teaching. On the surface, they were arrogant but they were also funny, full of life and hope for their futures. I began teaching (employability skills, functional skills English, maths, ICT and NEET provision) in 2009. I taught for three years at Gateshead College; making the move into study skills, Access and GCSE teaching before moving ‘down south’ to work as an A Level and GCSE English lecturer at Reading College. In March 2013, I became involved in staff development and the rest, as they say, is history.
4. What gets me up in the morning?
It has always been the thought that I might improve just one person’s day. Even better if I could affect their future prospects, job satisfaction or self-worth. If I feel as though I’ve positively affected just one person then, whatever accountability others may require, my job is done.
5. What keeps me awake at night?
The acute awareness that my learning journey seems longer than most and the person I know I can be is not usually the reality of who I am (trust me, the version of me in my head is much better!). The fear of disappointing and letting others down. The thought that I may not be making a positive difference to a single person…
6. Who inspires me?
I’m inspired by my mum; a strong woman who gave me a feminist outlook on life and a compassion for all humans. I’m inspired by my dad; he’s an incredibly skilled craftsman and I get my work ethic from him. I’m inspired by both of them for transforming their house into a beautiful home with many months of hard work, for raising such fantastic children and for remaining so in love all of these years. I’m inspired by my siblings; their incredible achievements and the fantastic lives they’ve built for themselves. I’m inspired by my partner; his patience, kindness and humour and his endless passion for cars, which will never cease to amaze me. I’m inspired by the many wonderful practitioners and leaders (in more than mere job title) I’ve worked with over the years: Angie, Denise, Anthony, Drew, Alana, Roger, Sarah, Maria, Ian, Enda, Qian, Rachel, Lawrence, Preeti, Carly, Richard, Clare, Katia, Sarah, Paul, Gabriela, Faz, Suzannah, Liz, Bridget, Scott, Alex, Bev, Liz and so many others. I’m forever inspired by Steph; her creativity, her tenacity, her positivity and her sheer grit. Most of all, I’ve been inspired by the young and old! people I’ve been privileged enough to work with over the years who have, in spite of their years and often in the face of great challenge, made a real success of their lives.