Refugees into Teaching

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It's the little things that make it so worthwhile, contact with the clients, the Iranian woman who expressed her delight in the freedoms in the UK – not having to wear a head scarf - simple things that make me think.

Refugees into Teaching, Volunteer

I was a primary school teacher in London schools for 40 years.  For the last 20 years of my career I specialised in EAL  (English as an additional language) teaching funded by the Ethnic Minorities Achievement Grant. Now I volunteer for the Refugees into Teaching strand of  Refugees into Jobs. I register new clients onto the database.

I answer queries about paths into teaching from clients and I am currently trying to find voluntary school placements for clients who would like an introduction to the education system in the UK.
I have also run a small conversation club based at the Stratford office and I have taken part in conferences run by the project.

There is no typical day! It depends what needs to be dealt with when I arrive on Tuesdays which is the day that I spend in the Stratford office.  I log into the virtual desktop and check my emails and deal with them in order of priority.  I can also access my desktop from home so anything  urgent can be followed up at home.  I come into the office on a weekly basis to discuss any issues that I have with the others on the team.  I wanted to use my knowledge of the teaching profession to support refugees.

Whilst I was still working for Lambeth as an EAL/EMAG teacher our team had an INSET session run by Lambeth that was visited by one of the RiT project team and I thought then that this was something I could do after my retirement.

In my teaching role I worked with many refugee children and parents.   I also tried to include the understanding of the experience of refugees into my teaching.

It's the little things that make it so worthwhile, contact with the clients, the Iranian woman who expressed her delight in the freedoms in the UK – not having to wear a head scarf- simple things that make me think. 

I enjoy working with a committed team of like minded people who have a wide range of backgrounds and experience. In the current economic climate there are so many people with a wealth of experience and skills who have so many barriers to being able to use their skills. 

I would recommend working here as you not only have a chance to use your specific skills but you also experience a supportive working environment. 

If I had to sum up the Refugee Council in three words, I would say:

  • Campaigning,
  • Dedicated and
  • Caring.