There has always been a buzz around education for me and I started my journey by volunteering at playgroup when my eldest child joined. A primary school gardening club followed and, around then, I decided that I wasn’t interested in my ‘office job’ anymore and started to study with The Open University. I will always be grateful for the chance to study alongside of work and family, an opportunity that eventually bridged the gap between my A Levels and an MSc in Medicinal Chemistry. Consequently, I fell in love with both education and science but could never quite decide which bit of science I preferred, although one of my absolute highlights was a week-long residential at the Astronomical Observatory of Mallorca. Cloud scuppered the chance of observing almost anything I had studied in my Astronomy module but the experience of working with lecturers and students, and using the equipment and techniques, was priceless.
Shortly after completing my degree in Natural Science, I trained to teach secondary science with a physics specialism, and started my career in education. It’s hard to beat the buzz and excitement of a busy classroom but I have also gained a lot from working with individuals in focused support or tutoring roles. Personalised support has allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of individual learning challenges and it is so rewarding to help students make progress – particularly when those, hardened to disappointment, realise that they can achieve. Another highlight during this period was volunteering on a youth programme run by the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. These workshops were collaborations with the local universities and industry experts, and it was wonderful to work outside of the curriculum, guiding teams of students who had chosen to spend their Saturday mornings doing science!
The thrill of practical science attracted me to my most recent role as Senior Science Technician in a small secondary school. Working with subject experts to develop activities to support learning is very rewarding. There is never a one size fits all, regardless of a shared curriculum, experienced teachers know the challenges of their subject and will carefully select activities around their students’ needs. Outside of that though the role demands good chemical knowledge, safe hands, the ability to plan and manage a rapid turnaround of equipment across multiple labs and lessons, and the ability to fudge something that just doesn’t work as it should!
My journey has brought so many rich experiences, and a deep appreciation of educational opportunity. So, here we are. Equipped with a love of learning, a tendency to produce visual guides for everything, a need to be organised and to organise, and a strong desire not to let the digital world move on without me – the RAU has ended up with me as the newest member of their Learning Technology Team. I am very much looking forward to working on projects and excited to get involved with the learning areas.