Adeline, tell us more about yourself?

I’m 41, I’m a wife and mum-of-three. I’m originally from Namibia and I actually started my working career with the North East Autism Society as part of the domestic team but now I’m working as part of Education as a teaching assistant. I love to cook and I’m also studying in my own time with the eventual aim of getting a degree; my current topic is in childhood development. I love it.

Wow. That’s quite a change in direction within your career path?

Yes, but I’ve always wanted to work in teaching, but English isn’t my first language and I think I assumed it wouldn’t be possible. But when I was still working as a domestic I mentioned it to one of my colleagues and when an opportunity came up I undertook some of the Society’s in-house training. From there I’ve achieved level 2 and 3 and was successful in applying for a job at Aycliffe School.

Did you know a lot about autism and neurodiversity?

I think I knew about the same as most people do, so I really relished the opportunity to do autism and neurodiversity training. Right away you learn that no two people are the same and so every day will be a learning journey for you and for those you are supporting.

Adeline winning one award

What have been your highlights so far?

Personally? Getting my Level 2 qualification when I had kind of discounted myself from ever being able to do that. That was fantastic. But in terms of the job it’s all about the children. I say this to everyone but really I see my job as planting a seed every day. These children will grow into something incredible. I saw a colleague smiling with pride one day when she saw a young person she had taught years before. That’s what it’s about.

 Adeline and student at aycliffe entrance sign

And what about the challenges?

It can be a challenging. I sometimes find my accent isn’t understood and so I need to worker harder to communicate effectively – but the team around me are fantastic so we get there. The work itself can be tiring and helping children when they are overwhelmed or struggling to process things can be difficult, but I always go home feeling like I’ve done something worthwhile.

Would you encourage other people to apply for a job in Education at NEAS?

Yes I would. If you want a rewarding job where you have opportunity to train and to make a hands-on difference to the lives of children through teaching, I would say definitely go for it.

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