A newly-qualified teacher who overcame bereavement and self-doubt has spoken of her pride at graduating from Aberdeen University.
Hannah Singer, 21, from Kintore was one of the hundreds of students to receive their degree at Thursday’s ceremony at P&J Live.
She is now the proud owner of a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Primary Teaching), though the journey was far from smooth.
Hannah chose to study at Aberdeen University partly because her mum was suffering with Stage Four bowel cancer, and she wanted to stay close to her while she studied.
She had originally started an undergraduate degree in primary teaching, but changed her degree after “falling out of love” with teaching.
However, a spell as a Pupil Support Assistant (PSA) rekindled her love of the vocation.
“This re-found love for teaching continued to grow while I was at Aberdeen University,” said Hannah.
“The staff were lovely and so supportive even before my mum passed away.”
Hannah missed late mum’s advice during ‘challenging’ teacher placement
When Hannah’s mum died last December, she lost not only her mother, but her teaching inspiration.
“When my mum passed away I felt lost, and it was a massive struggle to make it through my second placement in February.
“My mum was a primary teacher, so I had always asked her for support and advice.
“When I was on placement with a challenging class, I didn’t have her to ask for help or run ideas past, which made the placement even more difficult.
“The staff at the university were a great support system and helped me to decide not to give up on the degree.
“I was contemplating that, I was starting to feel like I wasn’t good enough.
“Instead, the staff helped me realise that I just needed a break.
“I took some time to be with family and to gather my mental health, and then undertook a placement in August.”
‘I felt useless, like I wouldn’t make a good teacher’
Hannah highlighted the swimming club socials, as well as the charity ball, as highlights of her time at Aberdeen University.
She plans to gain more classroom experience through supply work in different primary schools, before beginning her probation year in August 2024.
“I feel so happy to be graduating, and excited to start my journey as a primary school teacher.
“At the start of the year, I felt useless and like I wouldn’t make a good teacher, but now I feel like I can do it.
“I feel so proud of myself for making it this far and surviving through such a tough time in my life.”