‘I love my job and wouldn’t do anything else’: We speak to a NewVIc teacher about her career

Annabelle Herring is a teacher of foundation learning, health and childcare at NewVIc College

Annabelle Herring is a teacher of foundation learning, health and childcare at NewVIc College - Credit: Archant

Annabelle Herring, a teacher of foundation learning, health and childcare and a tutor at NewVIc College, tells us about her work and what inspires her

Annabelle with staff put forward for The Skills Award 2020, English teacher of the year

Annabelle with staff put forward for The Skills Award 2020, English teacher of the year - Credit: Archant

What do you enjoy about teaching at NewVIc the most?

I enjoy working at NewVIc because the students surprise and challenge me in new ways every academic year. When students join foundation learning they often have had a difficult relationship with education. I love seeing their journey of rediscovering how to learn and develop and then see them progress and be successful – something some of them no longer believed was an option for them in education.

My colleagues are very supportive and passionate about their jobs; it truly feels like being part of a family working at the college. One of the things I have always felt incredibly proud of while working at NewVIc is that every student is given a chance, is encouraged and supported to be the best they can be. The fact so many members of staff are alumni of the college is a testament to this.

Annabelle with colleagues on the Leadership and Outstanding Programme

Annabelle with colleagues on the Leadership and Outstanding Programme - Credit: Archant

Who is the most inspiring person you have met?

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My best friend is my inspiration, she works in a male dominated industry but has never let that intimidate her, and in fact nothing intimidates her. She never makes people feel inferior. Her work ethic is second to none and she never forgets to be caring and considerate even in her role as a director of a media agency in London. She is the type of person I hope my students encounter when they leave college and enter the world of work.

Tell us about your teaching career?

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I have worked at NewVIc since 2010, initially as a learning support practitioner and for the last seven years as a teacher. I teach English functional skills and at GCSE as well as health and social care, sport, citizenship and enterprise on the horizon level 1 programme. I fell in love working with young people when I gained my first learning support role in a secondary school in South London after finishing my degree.

I completed a post graduate course in autism from Sheffield Hallam University. Seeing people flourish is so rewarding that I would describe it as an addiction. I knew I had to go into teaching to get more of a fix!

I did my PGCE with University of Greenwich and carried out my teaching placement at NewVIc and I can attribute all the professional knowledge I have gained to the foundation learning team who supported me from then and beyond. I have always enjoyed supporting colleagues informally to develop their careers so I have enjoyed being a mentor to a PGCE student and hope to mentor many more.

What do you enjoy about being an English teacher?

I embed literacy into every subject I teach. Being literate is such an important skill which many of us take for granted. The students I teach in foundation learning often start college with a weak foundation in literacy. This puts them at a disadvantage in many ways and I feel it is an incredibly important part of my job to safeguard students and help them to become as confident as possible with reading and writing as a way to understand the world.

What made you want to join the foundation learning department?

I was drawn towards working with the foundation learning department due to the nature of the students who study at this level and the opportunity to teach a variety of subjects at different levels.

This year I set up the Connect Club for Neurodiverse students, to help them settle into college life and improve their communication and social skills as well as their self-confidence. The hope is that this will then enable them to flourish in other areas and that it will support their general wellbeing.

I am also carrying out a research project in conjunction with Greenwich University to measure the impact the Connect Club has on the students’ wellbeing. I am hoping this research will enable me to help the college to become an even more inclusive environment.

What about student progression?

Seeing my students progress makes me feel so proud. Many of our foundation learning students progress internally to level two and three courses and have gone onto university and employment after leaving NewVIc.

I feel a real privilege to be part of my students’ learning journeys and get excited when they get back in touch to let me know how they are doing. Many tell me that it was because of the support and teaching they received at college that they are where they are today; this makes the long commute into work and the difficult days all worthwhile. I love my job and I wouldn’t do anything else.

Find out more at newvic.ac.uk.

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