Sara Bagnall says she wakes up on each working day feeling excited to be coming to work. Three years on from when she first began working at Walsall College, she believes there are still new things she can experience as a learning mentor.
She initially worked primarily with the college’s faculty for students with learning difficulties and disabilities (Supported Learning); helping them make use of learning equipment and materials in class as well as supporting them on arrival and during break and lunchtimes. She now works across every college curriculum area, gaining further experience as she goes along.
“It’s true that no two days are the same,” said Sara. “You spend time with students from all backgrounds and with different nationalities, Italy and Brazil for example. it’s one of the things I love about the job. You get to know them really well and see them make progress in all kinds of ways; both in the short and long term.
“It’s just so fulfilling seeing someone achieve qualifications at Level 2 or 3 then move into higher education or into employment. It’s an honour to be part of their student journey.”
Sara also enjoys the family atmosphere coming from the supported learning teams within the college and across the entire college environment.
“Everyone’s so supportive that you never feel isolated,” continued Sara. “This is particularly important for those who might not have worked in education before or who haven’t yet spent time with a student that has a particular learning need or disability.
“There’s no such thing as being thrown in the deep end here. There is advice and encouragement wherever you look.”
Initially from a care background, Sara decided to seek out a new challenge. She chose to work at the college on the recommendation of her sister who had previously worked here.
Sara continues to invest in her professional development by becoming a specialist learning mentor. She will begin studying a Level 3 classroom support qualification in line with this.