Believe and you will…

Okay-so I wouldn’t normally do ‘this sort of thing’ I think personal ‘look at me and the adversity I’ve overcome’ type posts make for cringe worthy reading at best.


Having read a recent blog, I realised that they can actually be effective tools, that they can play a role hopefully in helping promoting self-belief, ¬†especially at a point where well-being and mental health seem to be at the forefront of a lot of discussion I’m seeing between educationalists across the key stages on Twitter.

9 years ago I was diagnosed with epilepsy…there, I’ve said it….believe me I still feel there is a great stigma attached to that one simple statement.
At the time I was Co-Director in a very successful Point of Sale business (which remains very successful thanks to the continuing passion of the current directors)-I had all the trappings associated with that-a V12 4.8l BMW X5, very nice salary etc, etc…..then everything basically went pear-shaped. Suddenly I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t get out to see my customers or my suppliers. I had 2 year old twin boys as well as a 7 year old daughter. I was working 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. My phone would go off at 3.00 am with yet another issue….
At this point I decided life had to change. I was missing my children grow up, I was dependent upon others for far too much than was comfortable and it couldn’t continue.

My co director bought out my share of the business-this does not mean I ended up with a huge financial settlement-the business, although successful-was still very much in its infancy. It gave me enough, however to stop for a moment and take stock.

I decided to volunteer at my sons primary school for 4 days a week. Within the 1st week I had the ‘revelation’ moment. This is what I wanted to do-I saw around me people who were so passionate about their jobs, people who genuinely loved what they were doing. More importantly, I saw people making a difference.

A post for Lunchtime Supervisor came up which I got-this was my way in! Then a position for an LSA came up-again I was successful in applying-I was working 1-2-1 with a child in yr4 with an SEN statement. It was an incredible time, I saw this child grow and develop over such a short period of time. I knew that I wanted this to be my role in life.

I had a very supportive teacher who showed me that despite my shocking A level results from when dinosaurs ruled the earth, there was a way in. It was long winded and would take a lot of hard work.

I took my NVQ3 which allowed me to apply for my foundation degree through Northampton Uni in Learning & Teaching. I passed this with a merit and then embarked upon my Ba-in which I got a 1st!
All of this whilst dealing with a 4 day a week job and a family.

I was then able to get into a SCITT program and was incredibly fortunate with the school I was placed into. Ultimately this led me to landing my dream job of teaching yr5 in possibly the most supportive environment I could have wished for. My mentor, head teacher and colleagues have been incredible. Their support and encouragement had never wavered (and believe me there have been times over this year where I seriously questioned my own abilities).

So what was the actual point of this waffle?

9 years ago it felt like my life was falling apart. Then I decided to take control. I decided that I wasn’t going to let circumstances dictate my future. I would not let my epilepsy dictate who I was.
Through successful medication, I have been fit free for 8 years.

I realised that I didn’t have to stay doing something that wasn’t doing me any favours physically or mentally.

Please don’t get me wrong it has been the toughest 9 years of my life, compounded by the devastating loss of my Dad in September…..but….I knew from that first week as an LSA, that teaching was what I wanted.

I now have the privilege to be a part of that family. I am able to help to make a difference and that alone is the most rewarding thing I could have asked for. I understand that the workload is immense, that the financial rewards are ridiculously inadequate, but this is something I believe in fundamentally. To hear and read some of the posts on Twitter saddens me greatly-clearly devoted teachers being beaten into submission by ridiculous workloads and nonsensical demands from senior management.

I’ve gone off -as is my want!- on a bit of a tangent there!
My main point of this post wasn’t a “look at me, haven’t I done well” exercise. It was a way of saying that whatever you want in life, you CAN do it. Believe in yourself. I am the least confident person on the inside-despite what outward appearances may suggest. I have been, and remain on occasion, full of self doubt, but here I am 9 years on, having achieved what I set out to do.

I feel immensely proud of my achievements, but more importantly I feel proud to say

Thanks for taking the time to read my twaddle! Not entirely sure it’s made much sense but hey ho!
Take care one and all
Matt x

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