Former ESOL student lands job as teaching assistant

Posted: July 5, 2022

A former English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) student has landed her dream role as a teaching assistant at the college.

Samira Mostafazadreh, originally from Tehran, was an accountant in her home country before moving to the UK in 2018.

Describing her childhood and teens as ‘magical’, Samira said all that changed when she had to leave her country and start ‘all over again’ when she arrived in the UK.

“I have a degree in accounting and worked as an accountant for many years. However, when I came to the UK, life started from scratch.

“I had to adapt to new situations and learn even simple things. Honestly, I had given up. However, everything was new to me. I started my journey slowly until I became a student at Leeds City College.”

Samira started her ESOL course in 2018, feeling that she had ‘taken a step in the right direction’.

“I am so grateful to one of my friends for supporting me with my college application. I felt that, after having two children and looking after them until they were ready for nursery school, it was now my time to find myself and fight for a better future.”

College and journey to becoming a teaching assistant
During her course, Samira discovered that she wanted to do something where she could help others. During a visit by the National Careers Service she met Marcus Burton, a careers adviser and employability trainer, and discovered she wanted to be a teacher.

“Studying at the college and meeting new people helped me build my confidence and figure out what I wanted to do.

“I am grateful to my tutor, Janet Barraclough and for the session that the National Careers Service ran at the college.

“Marcus talked to us about the future and our journey, and we took a personality test. I discovered that I am a person who enjoys helping others – and one of the jobs the test revealed I would be good at is teaching.

“I instantly forgot about accounting and changed my goal – to become a teaching assistant!”

Becoming a teaching assistant
After her course, Samira decided to take a leap when an opportunity to become a volunteer teaching assistant opened up for the 2021 academic year.

“The experience was amazing and I got to work alongside a great teacher, Basma Ahmed. I learned so much from her in that short space of time. This has helped me not only settle in my current role, but become a confident teaching assistant at the college’s Enfield centre.”

Samira credits her success to her wonderful teachers, who are now her colleagues.

“I was very lucky to have Steve Thomas as a teacher when I was a student, and now working alongside him is a rewarding experience. He continues to support me and he is always available to guide and give me advice.

“I am also grateful for my managers – Stephen Woulds, Nicola Johnson and Liz Lowe – who trusted me and gave me this opportunity. Working at the college is a dream come true and I am so happy that I get to support learners to achieve their goals.

“I would encourage those who are in a similar position as I was, or who are looking for a new opportunity, to never give up on their dreams. Believe in yourself, get advice, be positive, honest and hard working.”

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