I didn't know I was meant to be a teacher
My career guidance at school was that girls like me from homes like mine might want to work in Woolworths or have babies. When I left school with 3 O' levels and 1 CSE in the early 1980s there weren't many jobs. So I applied for any job I could and after working as a butcher's assistant for a while I was offered a job as a trainee Dental Nurse. I enjoyed the job and I moved between surgeries in my late teens. Simultaneously I was doing what other 'nice' girls like me did, acquiring a fiancé who became my husband, a savings account, a house that needed substantial work and at 21 I had my first baby. Returning to work was out of the question in my context. Happily I had another baby at 23. Then at 24 I started to long for something - something for me. I was a voracious reader and one day in the library I saw an advert for an NNEB course with free crèche facilities in a local FE college. So I applied, was interviewed and accepted.
Then the first of many serendipitous events occurred. The course leader who interviewed me said, “I would love to have you on this programme but I can tell that you would become quickly bored working alongside a teacher – you should be a teacher. Go and find out about Access courses.” So, I did, still not really believing that I could be a teacher. I was accepted on a part-time Access to Teacher Training course in 1990. This was a turning point in my life. FE was my second chance. I was besotted with learning. We were being told that we would be applying to University in the second year of the course – I didn’t really believe it, I was enjoying the journey. Half way through the first year I got pregnant. By now I knew that I couldn’t give all this up and be a stay-at-home mom. I don’t know how it was approved, but I came back in year 2 one week late with a week old baby. He came to all my classes with me until he was 4 months old. At the same time I was applying for HE and I was offered places at a Teacher Training college on a BEd and at Birmingham University on a BA in English and American Studies. I accepted the BA because it offered me more flexibility with my caring commitments and I still didn’t think I could be a teacher.