“Knowing that you have been a part of a child’s learning and development is a reward that no words can describe.” Case study with Supporting Teacher & Learning in Schools student, Kelly-Marie Shield.

I have always wanted to work with children since a young age. Prior to having my own children I worked as a Children’s nanny. Once I had my own children, my interest for working with children developed into the teaching and supporting side of children’s education. Seeing children come into the education system as a blank canvas and absorb knowledge quickly like a sponge soaking water is amazing. Taking this course on and completing it has given me the opportunity to be a part of that transformation.

Kelly’s Story
I left school at the end of my 4th year (which is currently year 10) without sitting any examinations. Before leaving school I always had the burning ambition to work with children in some way.

At the age of 16 years I was working within the retail industry and, to be honest, hated every minute of it even though I managed to progress up the career ladder within it. At the age of 18 I moved abroad to Spain where I became a children’s nanny for 3 small children which I loved. Situations changed for the family and I moved back to England. At the age of 23 I stated my own family and before long I was mum to 5 children. What I wanted out of life for me then went on the back burner as my children became my priority, as with all parents.

As my children grew I believed that it was time for me to start considering my options about my own education. This really hit home, when I was telling my own children that you only really get one chance at a good education and I then realised that I had made a mockery of my own advice.

Grasping an opportunity that came my way I returned to College to re sit my GCSE English Exam. It was a big step for me considering I was going to be attending the same college as my then 16 year old son. But that was the start of something good. I had the taste for learning and it just snowballed from there. Within that first year I completed my GCSE English and 3 further on-line qualifications and I  absorbed the thirst for learning. Thankfully my children and partner have been extremely supportive of all my decisions and have supported me throughout all those hair pulling deadlines that I have had as well as trying to run a very busy household and juggling children, homework and children’s social events.

A Thirst for Learning
I had been doing some online distance learning courses to help boost my chances of finding employment again and that would hopefully lead to me entering the world of teaching. My neighbour is connected to Little Miracles Day Centre for Disability children and she happened to mention that City College was coming in to do a talk about courses that they were offering and she was pretty sure that one would be of interest to me and my chosen career path.

It was here that I met Tracey Spiller who introduced me to the course of Supporting and Teaching in Schools. The course seemed as if it had been tailor-made for me. It was just perfect. At the time I wasn’t working, my children were just coming to the age where they were not so reliant on mum and I could see an opening to focus on me for a change and start to progress in my chosen career. Yes the course meant I had to give 30 hours a week to a placement (but I was hoping that that wouldn’t cause me too many problems) as well as some long hours studying; but it was a challenge that I was prepared to undertake. Nothing in this life is free, you need to work at everything to achieve, the more you put in the more you get back in return.

I chose City College to complete my studies because the staff that I had dealings with during all my information sessions were helpful and caring towards how they could support you as a student to obtain your potential plus the course was one year rather than 2 or 3 year period.

Opportunity of a Lifetime
Completing the course has meant the world to both my family and me. I was very lucky that I managed to land a placement within a primary school that all my children had attended and my youngest child was still there. This meant that I was working within a school that I knew very well and all of the staff were really supportive of me in my learning. It was during this time on the course that I was able to take up a temporary position covering sick leave for a member of staff, which helped to boost my CV. I was given responsibilities beyond that of someone on placement learning. It was the opportunity of a lifetime and has ended up opening so many doors for me and my career.

I am now working full time as a Teaching Assistant within the realms of a brand new junior school that is attached to one of Peterborough’s top rating Secondary Schools. I believe that without the course from City College and my placement that supported this course I would not be where I am today and my family would not be as secure as we are now. We all now have a purpose within the family unit. Mum is still mum and there to pick up the pieces when things go wrong, but mum is also now a person in her own right. Mum is now mum to children at home and Kelly to work colleagues and friends.

Kelly’s advice
My advice to anyone who is considering taking up a course with City College Peterborough would be to grab it, hold on to it and enjoy it because the amount of opportunities that will come from it will outweigh any concerns that you may have. Doing this course has been the making of me as a person in my own right I am now more than a mum I am a work colleague and someone who I believe can make a difference to children and their understanding and learning.


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