All about me!
Although I'm in my early 30s, I've had a very busy and interesting life so far! My journey from a teenager to a working professional hasn't been straightforward and is always been an icebreaking topic in most of my job interviews. The 'story' below will hopefully give you an insight into how I have got to where I am now and why I'm so proud of everything I've achieved.
The teenage years:
As a teenager I was fascinated by all sorts of things; astronomy, history, the environment, biology and music, but my passion was dance. I have danced since I was 4 years old and at 18yrs I won a scholarship to train as a professional performer at a top London performing arts college. I studied full-time and when I wasn't practicing I would work in the West End theatres where I met many famous people, saw many amazing shows and was part of many special occasions. During my time at dance school I picked up quite a few injuries - I now know that it was because of my genes; my connective tissue (my joints, muscles, skin and tendons) are overly elastic and could not cope with the high intensity training I was putting my body through. Being super 'hypermobile' I soon realised that life as a dancer would not work out for me and decided that I should look at another career...
Being a mature university student:
I decided to take a year out of dance to work and recover physically, and thought about what to do with my career. My dream of being a professional dancer was over, but I could still look into a career of being a teacher - especially in a college. To be able to teach I needed a PGCE which in turn meant I also needed to complete a batchelors' degree first. After doing some research, I applied to do the BA (Hons) in Dance Science at Middlesex University (which is no longer available but similar to the BA (Hons) Dance Studies course). It was here that I discovered my love for research and writing. By doing this course I learnt the 'science and art' behind essay writing, research analysis (qualitative and quantitative) and how to argue my points of view. Although my degree was a balance between practical and theory - I had to learn how to take an artform and design ways of 'measuring' it.
For my dissertation I looked into whether Joint Hypermobility was advantageous or a disadvantage to students during training. As mentioned previously, my career was stopped short due to being hypermobile and researching ways into injury prevention and rehabilitation helped me to understand that through better education at a young age, hypermobile teenage dancers can ensure that they can look after their body and prepare it for a long life in the industry. I was very proud when I found out that I had gained a First - in fact the majority of my coursework was graded a First!
Doing my first PGCert whilst teaching & with a full-time job:
After graduating I became an Associate Lecturer at Salisbury College (now Wiltshire College, Salisbury). There I taught modules on BTEC Diplomas in Performing Arts and Sports Science as well as the NVQ2 in Exercise to Music. Alongside this I studied for the PGCert in Teaching in Post Compulsory Education & Training at Greenwich University (this course has also been discontinued but replaced by the PGCert in Higher Education). During this time I learnt about Learning Styles and supporting learners from different backgrounds, lesson planning and schemes of work, designing activities that align to the course learning outcomes and assessment methods.
I was also working full time as an Information Officer in the college's marketing team. Within this team I learnt the basic functions of Moodle which they used for their intranet.
Moving to Solent
Upon completion of my PGCert I felt that perhaps academic teaching was not for me. During the summer of 2007 I applied for a fixed term post at Southampton Solent University as a researcher and support officer for the Recruitment, Access & Partnerships team supporting both the Widening Participation and Education Liaison teams. From this point onwards I knew I wanted to stay and forge a career working in Higher Education. Towards the end of my contract I saw an advert for an eLearning Support Officer for Solent's Learning Technology Unit. As I had experience in teaching and learning and had used Moodle (the VLE used by Solent) I applied and successfully got the post!.
As an eLearning Support Officer I became quite sufficient in the administration of Moodle as well as other technologies and systems before gaining a step-up fixed-term promotion as a Learning Technologist. Once my 18 month step-up had finished, I was officially made a permanent Learning Technologist.
Moving to Oxfordshire
In 2012 I met the man of my dreams and in 2013 we decided to set-up home in Didcot (Oxfordshire). We are now married and have started to plan for our future...who knows where the next stage of my journey will take me!