Sheila Hunt

Curriculum leader for Kensington and Chelsea College Health, Care and Child Care department, Sheila Hunt tells the story of her career journey on camera to help inspire and advise young people who are about to join the working world.

Text Version

Sheilas story is part of a collection of inspirational videos commissioned by icould, an independent organisation managed by CRAC: the Career Development Organisation

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Tapescript for Sheila Hunt

My name’s Sheila Hunt, I’m a Curriculum Leader in Health and Care at Kensington and Chelsea College. On a day to day basis, being a Curriculum Leader means that I have to write timetables for staff, I have to ensure that people are in the right place at the right time, I have to design the curriculum, seeing students on a one to one and a group basis, and teaching. I really love teaching, I – it’s a great job – and I suppose imparting knowledge. And I like working with students. And it is great when they come back and thank you. So that’s really nice.

Last year I was teaching someone who had left school at the age of 11 and was – and had her first cannabis joint when she was 12, and was addicted to heroin at 13, and living on the streets. And at the age of 32 she decided to clean up her act. She came to do a course in Occupational Therapy. And, you know, we provided a lot of support, but ultimately it’s about her taking responsibility for her own life, and we just acted as a kind of conduit for that and, you know, gave her responsibility. And now she’s, you know, student of the year, and it was just great actually that she achieved that.

At school I was – I was truly vile. I was a vile pupil. And one I certainly wouldn’t want to teach, I think. I played truant quite often. In fact for the last two years, I probably didn’t really go to school. And I was working in a supermarket, and I think my ambitions were very limited at that time. I was busy trying to guess the prices of the items that came through, and put them into the till. And I just thought I cannot be doing this for the rest of my life. And it was just so mind-numbingly boring, that I knew that I had to get an education. I had to change.

When I tried to get into Further Education, they looked at my appalling record and – and decided that really they didn’t want me, and didn’t want to take the risk. But I overcame that by challenging the person who was interviewing me, and by making a deal really, that if I didn’t perform then he could freely throw me off the course. So I forced him to give me another chance and, you know, I was three years older, and he did.

My first job after leaving University, I worked in Political Research. And I thought that’s what I wanted to do. But I discovered, and this is a terrible admittance, you can’t – you don’t have very long holidays. So I discovered that teaching you did get quite long holidays, and so I thought that sounds like the career for me.

One event that impacted on my life was my father’s death, when I was four years old. And he was in his thirties when he died, and my mother had six other children, and so there were seven of us. It did mean that the family were poor, and I think that impacts on all aspects of your life. Clearly it was quite traumatic at the time but I think, you know, you deal with these things and you move on, and you’re not a victim of your past, but clearly it influences your future and your personality.

I try to keep a balance between my life at work and my life at home. It’s not always possible, because with teaching there are – there are periods when of course you’re doing quite a lot of marking. Cycling is my passion and the real joy is – it’s being by yourself actually, being able to think – and I clear so many things up when I’m cycling, you know, you can really sort things out.

My dream is – is to be in a house, in France in, you know, some years’ time, and waking up in the morning to the sound of – to the sound of nothing at all. And getting out on my bike and going for a cycle, and living a very simple life actually. And growing – I mean I already grow all my own vegetables and, you know, to be able to do that, and that will become a way of life for me, and I’m looking forward to that.