After gaining several ESOL Level 1 qualifications, Selma passed her interview with a local school and was accepted as a volunteer classroom support assistant. Step by step on her journey with the WEA, Selma is moving towards her final goal of re-entering mainstream education.

"I was a successful maths teacher in Turkey, working in the middle school, and then giving private lessons after school to gifted students. I prepared several medal winning students for mathematics Olympiads, which were very prestigious awards in Turkey. Teaching and helping others were always my passion. 

Then, in July 2017, my life was turned upside down. My family moved suddenly to the UK and I entered a world I knew only through the movies. I’m a talkative person and I could speak to nobody. It was like being a baby again. I don’t want to remain in the balloon of a Turkish community abroad – I want to understand and contribute to my new country. One of my friends advised me to look into the WEA education program for English learning. I knew that learning English was the only way to integrate into the community and get back into teaching. 

I excelled at each level and soon felt more confident. My social life quickly improved. I could talk again! Some of my Turkish friends were impressed and have since registered with the WEA for their own English courses."

Selma on her sofa

The teacher assistant course was especially helpful. Due to the Covid-19 situation, the course was online, but it ignited my interest for the UK education system. I’m determined to work again in mainstream education or set up my own tuition centre. I am currently tutoring a Turkish family children and volunteering in schools. The satisfaction of watching young students progress makes the pain of relocation fade away.  

My motivation comes from own parents, who always taught me to bring out my best. I think we should all aspire to progress every day, however small or big.  

My tutor at the WEA has always believed in me and coached my development. Her impact on my life cannot be overstated.  

This is definitely a stepping stone to greater things.

Video transcript

I'm Selma, I'm from Turkey. When I was in my country, I was a maths teacher.

There are some political issues in my country, so we want to move to the UK. When I came here in the first time I was shocked. I couldn't speak any English, so I couldn't communicate with anybody.

One of my friends advised me to book WEA educational programme. I was very happy about that, so I started the WEA courses. I wanted to learn, I wanted to communicate.

After I started the course, our classmates are really funny, and also we made some friends, and we improved our social life.

I felt myself in a family.

Every time I felt myself confident because our tutors, especially my tutor Nusrat Bhattri she really helped me. She was really helpful to us, and encouraged us, so if we finished it one level they encouraged to start another level.

Also, we have another options to course to have courses because I am a little bit interested in psychology and mindfulness. I found different courses in WEA, so it improves, it improves me a lot.

It is really amazing, and encouraged me motivated me a lot because I know there are lots of winners here but I was the only one chosen student. Maybe I need this award to follow my dreams. I am really thankful to WEA.

Selma was the winner of the Academic excellence award at the WEA Awards 2021.

Lady in yellow jumper learning with the WEA on her laptop

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