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Jaime Harty is a former Introduction to Becoming a Teaching Assistant and Functional Skills Maths student at Oaklands College. A full time mum that made the time to complete her online courses and become empowered by her tutors. Having rediscovered her confidence and self-belief, she's now working towards getting a level 2 qualification in Supporting Teaching and Learning, and begin work in the education sector.
Where did you hear about us?
I found out about the maths on the Hertfordshire council website, and the Teaching Assistant course on the Oaklands website.
What was the name of the course(s) you did?
Introduction to Becoming a Teaching Assistant – Oaklands College
Functional skills Maths level 1 – Step 2 Skills
Functional skills Maths level 2 – Step 2 Skills
I finished school at 16 and went on to West Herts College to do art and design, after this I went to Middlesex university to do a fine art degree. In 1999 I trained to be a florist. I retook maths GCSE and English GCSE at Oaklands in my 20’s. I passed English but not maths. I went from job to job until I had children.
What were you up to at the point in your life that you started with Oaklands College and Step2Skills?
A full-time mum.
What made you choose Oaklands College and Step2Skills?
The thought of going back to college was very frightening as I had been out of education and the work environment for twelve years. So, because the maths course was local and offered online lessons I went for it. I didn’t want to have to go into college and meet new people being that much older and having zero confidence with maths. After I gained level 1 maths I had the confidence to go into the classroom again and do my TA course. It awakened my confidence and was lovely to learn with other people again.
Were there any events in your life or barriers that you felt were holding you back from your goals?
Just being a full-time mum with young children, so finding the actual time and just having an incredible lack of confidence in myself. I had always struggled and dodged maths all my life. From hiding in the back of the Florist shop so I wouldn’t have to use the till, to not even being able to help out at my children’s school events like fetes in case I was on a stall dealing with the money. If I ever applied for a job when I was younger and there was a maths test I wouldn’t turn up to the interview. All of this chipped away at my confidence in everyday life. I ended up telling myself I was just not very bright. Which I know now isn’t the case.
What did you like best about the course you did?
My teacher Michelle was so incredibly supportive. I really do feel that not only did she help me gain a qualification I never thought I’d ever have but she also helped me gain validation for feeling the way I have all these years about maths. Regarding the Teaching Assistant course, this was a real revelation for me. I had always wanted to work in the teaching sector, but because I didn’t have maths I thought I wasn’t intelligent enough. Doing the TA course made me realise I can actually do the job I’ve always wanted to do. Kerri Cockerell was so incredibly understanding, easy to talk to and made me realise there were doors open to me.
What have you learnt about yourself as a person since doing the course?
I have gained knowledge to help me decide if TA is suited to me, specifically what the role consists of on a day to day basis and what my relationship to the children would be. This has been a fantastic course to the point where a have already volunteered to work in my local school.
Did it lead to any further qualifications or a new job/hobby?
It’s made me want to take the level 2 Teaching Assistant course at Oaklands college in September 2023, and the maths has allowed me to start helping my kids with their homework!
What’s your personal goal in the next 5 to 10 years?
To get the level 2 qualification in Supporting Teaching and Learning and get a job.
If like Jaime, you are interested in studying to become a teaching assistant, you can view our relevant courses below:
Teaching Assistant Related Courses
Maths & English Functional Skills Courses
“It can be hard taking the leap doing something like these courses when you’re out of practice or out of your comfort zone, but it’s really worth the effort and time. The quality of the teaching and support is amazing, and it makes such a huge difference. ” – Jaime’s advice to today’s Oaklands students