Hi my name is Lotty and I am responsible for coordinating the learner blog for the SWITCH project. The learners felt it was important that the teachers accompany them on this journey and write their own blog posts so on that note I’ll tell you a little about myself. I am 28 years old and have studied and worked at Halesowen College for more than 10 years. I did my A Levels here before deciding that I would rather pursue a career than go to university. Six months after I made this decision I started working at the college as a Library Assistant.
Although I work at the college I haven’t stopped learning. I’ve obviously developed my knowledge about my job but also about education and learning as a whole. I have even been fortunate enough to complete The Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector which basically means that I am qualified to teach learners aged 16+. I enjoy teaching adults the most; seeing a person go from being under-confident and cautious to shouting out answers and dancing after receiving an assignment grade is the best feeling in the world for me.
In my spare time I like to read and I have a slight addiction to Netflix. I also enjoy going to the gym and lifting weights which is definitely not something you would have heard me say ten years ago! With my friends I enjoy going to gigs, the theatre and eating lots of good food.
As a teenager this college was where I first started to learn about myself and develop my interests. As an adult I have been offered many opportunities for professional development and I have grown up as a result of that. I’ve attended many short training courses which improved my skills but the decision to embrace higher education five years ago felt like a daunting step. Writing assignments again after such a long break was tough and I wasn’t confident. I’d never really referenced before and it felt like the hardest thing but now it seems so simple and it makes me smile when I see new higher education students stressed in the same way and I am able to calm their fears.
When we moved onto the level five part of the course we had to undertake a research project which was something completely new to me. I wasn’t exactly sure how to approach it or what I wanted to find out. To start with I felt very overwhelmed and struggled to put my thoughts onto paper but once I started my worries seemed to dissolve. I found that writing myself a list helped me to decide how to go about my research which is something I still do now when I feel overwhelmed. Defining my question was difficult but once I did the ideas came streaming. I found it quite a frustrating experience at times but I would just move on to another area of my research and come back to where I was stuck later. The thing that helped the most was talking to other people in my class. I quickly found out that we were all feeling a similar way and discussing it made us all feel better. My main problem with the project and my work in general is confidence in my own ideas. I need to stop waiting for others to validate them before I’m self-assured. Looking back I’m really proud of my project and the way I presented it. If I was to do the whole thing again I would try to be more confident about my ideas but also do a lot more reading. I’m sure I could have found more research to back up my own if I’d read more.