I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the second year of my A levels. It was completely out of the blue and that was something I had to take on board whilst starting university. I was only diagnosed at 16 so it was quite a big change sitting my A level exams, starting university and moving out as well. I don’t think a lot of people understand what type 1 diabetes is and often they think it’s because you’ve eaten too much sugar or that you can’t eat certain foods!
It did change my experience because I couldn’t just carry on like everyone else, especially when it came to meals and nights out. So many different factors affect my blood sugars including stress, exercise, having a cold and even the weather! It’s always at the back of my mind. I think moving out helped with my independence – if I had stayed at home I wouldn’t be as independent as I am now.
I do have to be careful at work. Being a teaching assistant in reception means I’m quite active all day, chasing around after the children. I’m pretty open about it; I don’t mind talking about being diabetic or answering questions as I think it’s important for people to know. It’s not something I’ve spoken about with the children in my class yet, but it might come up in the summer when they see the insulin pump on my arm. Children can be quite inquisitive (and they have no filter!) so it’s just about working out how to explain it to them.
I applied for teacher training in my third year but unfortunately didn’t get through after interviews, which was a bit of a setback especially with the stress of third year. Looking back, I’m glad it happened in the way it did because I needed more experience. I’ve learnt so much during my year as a teaching assistant and I’m ready to start my teacher training course with SCITT later this year.
I have always wanted to be a teacher and working in reception is my favourite, I love it. Obviously it is hard and stressful looking after a classroom of children, but there’s always something amazing or something funny that happens. It’s that lightbulb moment, that’s what you’re doing it for. It reminds you why you’re doing this and if you do have bad days or days that are hard, those moments really count.