Recently Vicki Pearson realised a dream she has held since the age of three - to graduate as a Teacher. It hasn't been an easy journey for Vicki, after having to take over a year away from her studies due to health reasons, but her determination and love for teaching got her through.
We caught up with Vicki recently after she finished work - a busy but very enjoyable day teaching at Raynville Primary School (Bramley).
So Vicki, how does it feel to finally be a Teacher?I recently started full-time supply teaching in Year 6 at Raynville Primary School, where I've been on placement for the past two years and where I will be a permanent member of the teaching staff from September. It was a strange feeling knowing that I was being paid for something that I've done for years as a student... and would do simply for the love of it! It's amazing to have a permanent job, teaching year 2 students (6-7 year olds) for my NQT year... I've met my class already and they're amazing, I can't wait to teach them! I can still recall how nervous I was during my first ever placement, being introduced as Mrs Pearson, throughout my first lesson I was shaking like a leaf and continually checking my lesson plan but everything went really well. I remember sitting down afterwards to have a cup of tea and thinking, this is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life! Several years later and the hard work has finally paid off! I feel so lucky!
You mentioned that it has been a long journey, what has happened along the way?Despite my dream of becoming a teacher I actually started my educational journey at Hull University, following the path my parents had laid out for me by reading Law. I realised this wasn't for me and left, changing my career path in alignment with my passion.
I came to Leeds Trinity but was forced, due to health reasons, to take some extensive time away from my studies after my first year. At this point it didn't feel like I would ever achieve my dream but despite others questioning why I was putting myself through this, I battled on with the endless love and support of my wonderful husband.
Did you feel you got more than a degree at Leeds Trinity?Yes definitely, as the adverts suggest, you're a name not a number at Leeds Trinity. I felt part of a family and I've made friends who I know I'll have with me for life.
What made you choose to attend Leeds Trinity?The reputation the University had for the calibre of its teaching graduates was exceptional and there was the opportunity to specialise in a key stage, whilst still qualifying to teach the whole primary age phase.
When I attended the interview day there was an incredible atmosphere and I was very impressed with the facilities on offer. Additionally, when applying for jobs I know employers recognise the Leeds Trinity University name and the quality it represents.
What were the best things about studying at Leeds Trinity?I really valued the sense of belonging and I'll stay in touch with many of the staff and students. I arrived as a married mature student and was initially worried that I might miss out on University life and 'the experience' – but that didn't happen due to the opportunities available to me. Although I've finished now, I still feel part of the family.
Also, the support I received from the Student Support team was incredible, without this I might not have been able to return after being ill to complete my course. They are, without a doubt, second to none!
How would you sum up Leeds Trinity in three words?Family, opportunity and quality.
And how would you sum yourself up in three words?Ambitious, dedicated and passionate – I love what I do!
You said you were heavily involved on campus, apart from being a student what else did you do?I've also undertaken the following jobs, on campus, during my time here!
- Student Ambassador (2009-15)
- The course and SSAC rep for Primary Education, Junior years (2009/2010)
- Elected representative in the Students' Union as Mature Students Officer (2010/11)
- Conference & Events Assistant (2013)
- Social Media Moderator working with incoming Fresher students online (2014)
- Peer Learning Mentor (2014/2015)
- Student Union Bar Staff (various)
- I've also worked behind the main reception since 2013 and will, more than likely, be back doing shifts over the summer
What are your future aspirations as a Teacher?Eventually, I want to be a Headteacher and before I retire I'd love to have the opportunity to teach in New Zealand. I've not actually been to the country yet, but one of my closest friends lives there and I love the way of life.
I'd be delighted to return to Leeds Trinity in the future and be able to share my experience and knowledge with current students. I want to stay involved as an alumna and continue to give something back to Leeds Trinity.
My goal is to be that one teacher who my grown pupils will recall with warmth and fond memories, that one teacher who taught them about life, not just subjects and that one teacher that inspired them and made a real difference to their lives. Whenever friends or family members question my chosen career path due to the long hours, the workload, the pay etc. there are many inspiring quotes which I could choose to answer them with, one of my favourites being "a good teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart." There is, however, only one answer that I feel I could possibly ever give – I am a teacher because I have never felt more alive than when I am teaching and sharing ideas with a class and I have never done anything more worthwhile than inspiring, enriching, motivating, believing in and caring for my pupils. In short...I am a teacher because I can make a difference.