Keeping it in the family

Thursday, 24 June 2021.
Keeping it in the family

We were thrilled recently to discover that two of our trainees are related, and are actually Aunt and Niece! We asked Lynn Higgins-Watson and Amelia (Millie) Johns to give us the downlow on training to teach alongside a close member of your family.

Millie's story

I have been lucky enough over the four years since graduating to tour the UK and the world as a hair, wigs and makeup artist working with various theatre production companies.

A year ago, I was employed in The West End on one of the longest-running shows - and Covid hit. I had a moment of 'what comes next' and I began looking into career paths and came across a link to train to teach art and design at secondary school. I found my way to Mid Essex's website after a few minutes of looking. I had a light bulb moment of 'wow why didn't I think of this before!' I rang Sophie for more information and instantly knew this was for me. I was lucky enough to get accepted and I genuinely haven't looked back since.

My passion to deliver outstanding accessible creative teaching for all grew with the support of the most fabulous mentors both at MIETT and my placement school and I can honestly say it's been the most rewarding year I've ever had. Getting to know the young people I have had the pleasure to work with has been a joy (even the more tricky ones! Honestly!).

When I applied I had no idea my auntie had done the same after teaching English to foreign students for years. It hadn't clicked...until it did! She came round for a coffee and gave me the book 'Getting the buggers to behave' - my bible for behaviour now! Her previous knowledge was such a great support for me and going to 'Auntie Lynn' when I needed that inside knowledge of what to do or even just to have a moan or a laugh was invaluable. I know that many other trainees also accessed her support in this way too.

We have both secured our dream jobs, for me a job I didn't even know existed - teaching hair and makeup at a specialist college at GCSE and A level.

It's been such a special experience to share together in a year of uncertainty and unpredictability but we have both found new paths that are the perfect fit for us.

To look back on this training year knowing I did it with my Auntie will always be a special time for me. Thank you Mid Essex and Auntie Lynn for guiding me through this new wonderful career as a teacher!

Lynn's story

After years living abroad and teaching in adult education plus training staff in large corporations, I had been accepted for a PHD in Politeness theory and social media at ARU. Then a global pandemic struck, and funding was withdrawn, and after time in lockdown, I discovered how much I need to be with people.

I changed my mind about pursuing an academic career which would involve much time working in isolation in a library! I applied to train with MEITT and was very excited to be accepted, especially when I discovered that my niece has also applied and she would be training alongside me.

It was such a privilege to train together, albeit at different schools. We did not consciously decide not to inform the group about our relationship, as we are both equally proud of each other; it just did not arise. However, it was hilarious when we told the course tutors during the final week as they had no idea.

The course has been highly challenging, especially with all the extra pressures of COVID to deal with. I am very grateful to the course tutors, school and mentors who have gone the extra mile to be supportive, with special mentions to Fiona Lane, Beth Howkins and Casey Ogogo.

Training alongside my niece Millie has been a delight and allowed us to build upon our strong relationship. She is also my Goddaughter, and being able to support, cry, scream and celebrate together has been a bonus. To train and start my new career with my inspirational niece has been a gift of lockdown.

As a family, we are so proud of her for transitioning from a well-paid career in the theatre industry to a more vocational career in teaching. She has excelled at teaching and has secured a dream job that combines her previous skills and experience. 

I have also secured an excellent position at a phenomenal school, and so we are both so excited to start our new careers.

We will continue to support each other and enjoy celebrating with our family when we can. If I had known a year ago, I would be a qualified teacher in the UK working with teenagers - I would have said dream on! Thank you, MEITT.

Mid Essex ITT

Ofsted Outstanding OP Colour