Childhood and Youth - student stories
Sarah Witts, Classroom Assistant
How I became interested in working with children
Spending time at home bringing up my three children made me realise what my own mum had put into bringing me up – all the time and energy she’d put into teaching me to play games, read books, and understand things about the world.
As the children got older and started school I found I had more time on my hands and I started to taking an interest in magazine articles on child development and programmes on TV. I also started going into their school some days to help out in the classroom. After seven years at home it did me good to be back in a work environment learning new skills.
One of the teachers suggested that I take things further by getting a qualification and handed me a leaflet about the OU. I went online and really liked the sound of it. I was a bit apprehensive to start with and thought I’d just do a little bit to see how I liked it.
I ended up loving it. I did two courses and got a certificate in Early Years Practice. After that I was hooked, I just kept going until I got a BA (Hons) in Childhood and Youth Studies.
Support from the OU
Just after I started my studies, my husband became seriously ill. I continued my studies but it meant throughout my courses I managed to get to only one tutorial. But there is just so much support from tutors and fellow students that I never felt I was on my own.
My tutor would email me, or phone me, mostly about my work but sometimes just to ask how I was, which was really kind. And the students were fantastic.
It was a little community of people who really understood my situation - and many of whom were in similar situations themselves. If I told someone in the street I had three kids, a disabled husband, was working and also studying for a degree, they'd be shocked. But OU people tend to have very full lives – we really got so much support from each other.
What I gained from OU study
I am so fulfilled and the Open University has brought this out in me. Being at home with the children, although I loved being with them, I sometimes feared my brain had seized up. The Open University helped to open it up again.
I now work two days a week helping children with special needs and I’m hoping to use my degree to get into social work - another area that really interests me.