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My Journey, from Teaching Assistant to Qualified Teacher and the Challenges Along the Way.

Having no relatives nearby and little assistance, I made the decision to stay at home to take care of my three children. When they were all at school age, I had more free time and I applied for a job as a Teaching Assistant in a secondary school.

After a year I was given the opportunity to teach French as an unqualified teacher, since I am a French native speaker and had tutoring experience

As the months passed, I realised how much I enjoyed teaching the few classes I had, and decided to become a qualified teacher. However, I did not have a degree, as I stopped my studies back in France at A levels (Baccalauréat). In 2018, I enrolled to study languages.

I started studying part-time and then switched to full-time study and was able to complete my degree in four years. During this time, I was still working as a TA and an unqualified teacher and looking after my family, this made it extremely challenging. I remember studying late at night, after I had finished all my other tasks. This was really draining, but I had a goal in my mind and needed to put a lot of effort in to achieve it.  At the same time, I had also joined a GCSE Spanish course to brush up my skills, since I did not feel quite confident in Spanish. Summer 2022, I received the highest grade.

A few months before the end of my degree, I started searching for teacher training and came across the OTT SCITT (Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire School Centred Initial Teacher Training) who offered part-time options. I applied and was offered the opportunity to train with them, I was thrilled and eager to get started.

I finally obtained my degree in July 2022, and was starting my teacher training in September 2022. One of the requirements for teacher training was to submit Maths and English GCSE results, however in France, my mum could not find my results and when I contacted the Department of Education in France, I was told that they retained records only for the last 6 years. This was another challenge that came to me, as I had to take GCSE equivalency tests. However, I persisted in studying maths and English until I was prepared for the tests.

Finally, about two weeks ago, I was handed my certificate as qualified MFL (modern foreign languages) teacher, after having attended many useful training sessions at the SCITT, subject specialist sessions and completing two fantastic placements, which were both so amazing and supportive. I really consider myself as very fortunate to have had the support and guidance from mentors and expert colleagues at both placement schools, and the SCITT. I am now still waiting for my final PGCE (post graduate certificate in education) results as I took this option alongside the QTS (qualified teacher status).

This journey has been quite difficult, but I have no regrets whatsoever, in fact it has been the best choice I have made and the best reward one can wish for. I cannot express the feeling of holding my QTS certificate, how delighted, excited and proud I was… just speechless and emotional! I managed to achieve my dream….

It has been an unforgettable experience, despite the challenges; persistence and hard work prove that they are the key to realising one’s goals. Work hard and don’t give up!

Karima Karam – Part-time Associate Teacher 2022-2023