The Alternative School
Marie first joined The Academy as part of her 4th year placement for her Degree in Community Education at the University of Edinburgh. This summer we are delighted that she is joining our youth work and education teams.
I first came to Spartans Alternative School for my 4th year placement. The most challenging experience is fighting with my own self doubt about being a professional within the field of education and youth work. I left school at 15 with no formal qualifications and I was pregnant. I knew through my time at University that I struggled with the academic side of things so when I was diagnosed with dyslexia during my second year it was a bit of a relief for me and I started to understand why I had the struggles. However, it wasn’t long before I started to recognise that I could be professional and was able to use all my life experience to connect with the young people I was working with on a deeper and more compassionate level than just being a professional.
My most rewarding experience is having the opportunity to work with all the young people at the Alternative School. Each one of them have their own individual uniqueness and there is nothing more rewarding than witnessing each of them starting to flourish into the individuals that they are. My own diverse life experiences has been a great asset for me building relationships with the young people as it has helped with a different level of understanding. I have shared some of my childhood experiences when I felt it was appropriate with the young people and you can see the difference it makes for them as they know you understand.
My time at the Alternative School has shown me I don't need to worry about the word "professional" so much and just be myself. I've also learnt that I am growing as an individual while supporting the young people to grow. Sharing my struggles with my dyslexia and my fear of heights when we were on a trip to Fox Lake helped us grow together. It helped the young people to realise that even adults have struggles and fears. The young people would help me with my spelling, and I was creative and came up with different ways that we worked on Maths and English. We are continuously working and learning together in an environment where they feel completely safe to do so. And the staff team within the whole of Spartans are awesome. As a student at Spartans, I was made to feel welcome and part of the team and felt for myself what the students at the alt school experienced. My experience has confirmed to me the field of work I want to continue with. It was the most rewarding experience on my placements and I am so excited to continue my journey at Spartans.
"Marie is an amazing person - her experiences, her outlook and her attitude mean that she gets stuck in, nothing phases her and she brings her true and honest self to the table - our young people trust and respect her and that's a magic mix."