Move Mountains


Age 4, entering a strange new world of education I didn’t know what life would bring my way. The smallest in the class I realised quickly that I preferred to talk to the teachers rather than the pupils. In later life I found out that the teachers had realised quite quickly that academically I wasn’t the strongest. What stood out from day one was that I was slower at completing my work than the other kids my age. I went through my school days with varying degrees of support from different teachers. Some teachers simply believed I was lazy, some thought there might be a need but in a class of 30 kids there simply wasn’t the time to address an extra level of teaching. I was finally diagnosed as dyslexic when I was 9 in primary 5. I cant say I noticed a lot of difference in my teaching from that point but I did get understanding of the need to work harder in order to achieve what the other kids where achieving. In primary 6 I had one really horrible experience with a teacher screaming at me to hurry up and give the answer in front of the whole class. This caused me to have a continual fear of getting something wrong.

However everything changed when in Primary 7 I met a teacher who quite simply believed in me, she knew I had potential and that everything I needed was within myself. She could guide and encourage me but ultimately where I would go from this point was purely down to me and how much I wanted to achieve. I ultimately surprised everyone by getting a place in Grammar school.

Grammar school and a kid with dyslexia, 20 years ago probably wasn’t the greatest decision. I repeatedly found myself at the bottom of the class which doesn’t do much for your self esteem. Eventually you stop believing you are capable of achieving anything. Again what changed everything was a teacher who believed in me. My English teacher took me under her wing. Took time out of her own lunch breaks and gave me extra lessons helped me grasp the basics and then helped me fall in love with English literature. Thanks to that teacher I achieved two B’s in English at GCSE and a B at A level, when others said I wouldn’t even be able to manage a C at GCSE, she taught me to believe I could achieve anything through the love of learning.

Fast forward and dreams of becoming a teacher faded for ideas of romance and having some money from working full time and I decided that university wasn’t for me. I got married, had two children and got diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis all by the time I was 23. Hopes of achieving anything beyond that had faded. But when Megan went to nursery I decided I needed to find something that was just for me. Something that made me more than a mum or a wife. Something to remind me of who I am. I started out on a social sciences course and loved it, I moved this to Psychology degree and then as I started volunteering with Prison fellowship I moved to Psychology and criminology. The path was not smooth. Ive gone through 6 different forms of autoimmune treatment in that time. I developed pneumonia which I had for a full year and which turned into sepsis and a hospital stay and ultimately a diagnosis of lung disease. Elijah went through 5 rounds of surgery and Meg, Eli and Ben where all diagnosed with ASD which comes with its own round of courses and education to get my head around. We suffered grief and redundancy all within the past 8 years while trying to juggle regular parenting SEN parenting, long term illness and just every day life.

Today however, I am very happy to say, that with several supportive people behind me. People who believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. The voices of those two teachers in my head and sheer stubbornness and some serious hard work (and a fair amount of prayer) I have achieved a 2.1 in my Criminology and Psychological studies degree. So now I am officially Nikita Clarke BSc, who knows what the future holds. I do know that if I choose to, I can still move mountains!!!

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