🚧 NSCG | Q&A with Amanda Garside, Curriculum Leader for our Foundation…
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9th April 2022

We caught up with Amanda Garside, Curriculum Leader for our Foundation Degrees in Education and Early Childhood Studies and who is also one of our Access to Higher Education lecturers. Here Amanda shares her passion for education with us.

Q. Tell us about yourself.

A. I have worked at NSCG for over 15 years. I started here in 2006 as an assessor in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. This started as a part time opportunity and sparked my interest in education with a particular focus on adult education. Previous training included working with young children and families. I also had experience of family learning for the local council, where I completed sessions in schools for children and their parents to enjoy. The majority of my roles included helping adults to engage with education, alongside completing my most recent qualification of a Master’s in Education.

Q. Who or what inspired you to get into teaching?

A. I have always had an interest in learning and through my qualifications developed knowledge about the theory of learning from young children through to adulthood. Once I started to see the ways in which individuals grow and improve their skills and confidence over the course of a qualification, I knew this was where I was meant to be. I have also witnessed some impressive commitment to the sector during my studies, from inspirational individuals at college, primary schools and at Staffordshire University.

Q. What do you love most about your job?

A. I have always enjoyed learning, and being a teacher provides a perfect balance. Teaching provides continual exploration of new ideas and most importantly the development of knowledge for everyone in the classroom environment. Seeing the journey that students make through the courses is an amazing opportunity and I am lucky to play a part in that growth.

Q. If you weren’t teaching, what do you think you would be doing now?

A. I am unsure, but the only other place I can see myself is with younger children and I know it is still teaching, but maybe a career in primary schools.

Q. What challenges have you faced getting to where you are now? How did you overcome them?

A. Every aspect of learning is a challenge, but this is also important because I don’t think you would value your achievements as much if they were easy. Within my journey, it has been difficult to balance work and family commitments. I also put a lot of pressure on myself to keep improving and I want to achieve the best results, whether for myself or my learners, which at times is stressful and I am probably my hardest critic. The support of my family and colleagues as well as my lecturers has helped me achieve my goals.

Q. Do you think there are any particular qualities someone wanting to get into Early Years/Education needs to have?

A. I think it is important to have a real interest in developing the lives and skills of young people. You will need that enthusiasm to continue in a demanding job, but there are many rewards for this hard work. There is a need to find enjoyment in the career and also to be a patient and flexible individual.

Q. Do you have any advice for students looking to study Early Years or Education at NSCG?

I think if you are committed to a career, want to reflect on your own practice and further improve your knowledge then you are at the perfect time to take the next step. Making the commitment to HE is a worry, but it really does make a difference and increases your opportunities for the future.

At NSCG, you will increase in confidence both academically and personally, meet other people who have similar roles, commitments and ideas. Furthermore, the supportive learning environment will also help build a strong bond with your peers, encourage an open and productive learning experience where everyone excels and friendships are formed which can last for some time. Many of my students go onto amazing opportunities such as teaching, social work and nursery management.

Q. Outside of work, how do you like to relax and unwind?

A. I am a creative person and enjoy craft, art and theatre. I enjoy making things using my sewing skills and when I have the time, I do sell items in the college shop to satisfy this creative spark. I also enjoy spending time with my small children, helping them learn, play and enjoy life which always keep me on my toes in a most enjoyable way.

Find out more about our Foundation Degrees in Education at Newcastle College.