Nothing could have prepared me for the amazing reactions and responses I received from the parents. After a deep breath and my first handshake, I just gave it my all and before I knew it I was off, in teacher mode, confidently talking parents through tracker forms and looking at all my children’s work together, talking, discussing different aspects of the folders I’ve been working on since September, laughing and constantly smiling because for the first time in years I could see from the parents’ reactions that I, Melanie Pitt, wasn’t just a mummy anymore, I was a grown up and making a difference to little people’s lives and that I was doing a great job!
How it all started
I have always been really maternal and being a mummy was all I ever wanted to achieve in my life and I have. I’m a mummy to 3 beautiful children: Gracie, George and Poppy. It was only by chance taking Poppy to pre-school one morning that I was asked if I could help out in the school while another lady was off. I was overwhelmed and flattered that they had asked me as, after all, there are lots of other mums at pre-school they could have asked.
My first day arrived and I was nervous, I felt sick but I really had no reason to worry as everyone was so welcoming and the children just adored me, as I do them. “You’re a natural” the staff would say and it takes a special kind of person to do this job; everyone was amazing but I felt somewhat deflated as this wasn’t a “real” job – this was just helping out and was only for a maximum 3 months. But, nearly a year later, here I am writing this and beginning my career and now working towards my NVQ.
I adore being a mummy but I also truly adore my job. I currently have 5 key children – 2 older and 3 young ones. The older 2 were at school before me and I have taken over as their key person and built up relationships with them. The 3 younger ones have recently started and have only known me and it really is a wonderful feeling watching them grow and learn and helping them as they begin their journey to school.
Every day is varied and exciting
No two days are the same – the numbers of children vary day to day and so do the activities that we do in pre-school. Although what we offer at pre-school is all free choice (meaning the children have the whole area to freely walk around and play with whatever they want whenever they want), as lovely as this is to watch, teacher-led activities are the most fun and what I really enjoy the most at pre-school. It’s these activities that you can really see the difference you can make to some children. Today, for example, I was leading blow painting with straws; all the children were intrigued and gathered round to watch. Some naturally had difficulties and some just wanted to throw paint around but you hang in there and bear with it, offering reassurance and then you hear the words “Mrs Pitt, look it’s getting bigger”. One little girl, the smallest one there today, had grasped the concept of why we are blowing paint with straws and had seen that the little blob of paint I put on the paper to begin with had now got bigger and spread all over the page and the smile on her face and seeing her sense of achievement made us both feel proud.
Finding my feet over time
Teacher-led activities really worried me in the beginning simply because I wasn’t a teacher, I was a mummy. I used to panic and think what will I say and how will I do things and quite often wonder if the children would even listen to me in the first place. But I can now very confidently say that yes, they do listen to me and I am “a teacher”. I found it hard to keep questioning the children as I felt like I was interrogating them all the time, but now I have found my own way of challenging them and keeping the conversations going so I’m not just sat there reeling off a list of questions at them.
I can honestly say that I don’t think there are any aspects of the job that I don’t like. Nappy changes aren’t the best for obvious reasons, but it’s all part of the job and actually gives you a bit of quiet time to bond with your children and talk to them one to one. Then, before you know it, you have helped build confidence in them and they trust you so much so that you’re now not changing their nappy but you are helping with their healthcare routine and toilet training.
A balancing act
I wasn’t looking for this job, I was happy at home just being a mummy so I never ever thought I’d be starting an NVQ – but here I am. Although it makes me worried about how I will manage to work full time, look after 3 children, my husband, our home and now very recently a puppy, as well as study, I know I have it in me and I will make time and just get on with it as us mums tend to do.
I’m also very excited to be starting my NVQ. I worked hard at school and achieved good grades but never put them to any use, so to now realise that I can still be a mummy with a career and something for herself is a really lovely warming feeling. The only reason I haven’t started on the higher level is purely because this is all very new to me and unexpected, so I don’t want to give myself too much to do at once. Instead, I plan to ease myself in gently, complete level 2 and work my way up.
What will the future hold?
Who knows what the future holds, my NVQ is just the beginning of my career. I would like to think that maybe one day I could become a SENCO. This is of great interest to me as my son, George, has lots of learning difficulties and is currently under investigation with paediatricians for a range of different things. He also has epilepsy, so home life hasn’t been easy. SEN is something I feel strongly about and have a great interest in and hopefully I will have the opportunity to work towards this in the future.
It’s time for the school run now, then back home before starting dinner and bath time. My life is non-stop, hectic and sometimes crazy – but hand on heart I wouldn’t have it any other way and after an amazing first parent consultation today, right now I don’t think I could be any happier!