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The Beginning

25/05/16

In her first blog for us, Jenny tells us about setting out on her new career path as a SEN teaching assistant:

It's 6am on a rainy, Tuesday Birmingham morning. My suitcase is at the foot of my boyfriend's, Mother's spare bed and the smell of the London underground is still in my hair. My taxi is due in less than an hour to take me on the forty-five minute ride across Birmingham, where my brand new job as an SEN Teaching Assistant awaits.

I was offered and accepted the new role less than 24 hours ago. Having worked as a Nanny for two years, I was struggling to crack into mainstream education without a formal qualification. I had two years of private music tuition under my belt, but needed a foot in the door in a mainstream school. At this point, I had already accepted a place on an Early Years Primary Education PGCE at Birmingham City University, but wouldn't be allowed on the course without 'state school experience.' I had applied in person to a plethora of schools in London, but everywhere was already full of volunteers. My sunny disposition and degree in Acting wasn't going to get me through the door this time.

Birmingham born and bred, my boyfriend was more than ready to move out of London. After six thankless years in the capital, I was right behind him. We were being priced out of the city anyway and dying for some fresh air and spare cash. With little expectation based on my lack of employablity, I contacted the one education recruitment service I could remember from my drama school days, Protocol Education.

Long story short, my prayers were answered. My recruiter could tell I just needed a single opportunity to earn my stripes and I would be well on my way to becoming a teacher. So, at 11am on a Monday, I got a phone call:

'There's a Primary School in Birmingham who need a SEN Teaching Assistant. The job is yours if you can start tomorrow...'

Knowing this was the shot I was after, I ran home at 5pm, packed a suitcase and got on a train to Birmingham. Despite having absolutely no experience with SEN, I was determined to grab hold of this opportunity with both hands. Scared and solo, I made my way into the unknown. Three months later, and I haven't been back to London since...

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