Charlotte Bennett: Education, Milton Keynes

Hi, I’m Charlotte

I am a Year 3/4 primary school teacher, which was my dream ever since my Year 5/6 teacher believed in me and helped me strive to achieve my best. I got my degree in Primary Education with QTS at the University of Northampton and completed my first year as a newly qualified teacher during the first year of the pandemic.

As well as teaching, I also volunteer for the Girl Guides where I help to give all of the incredible opportunities Girlguiding has to offer to children. I am currently a helper with Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, I am a peer educator running sessions on topics such as resilience and breaking gender stereotypes. I am also the Buckinghamshire Peer Education Co-ordinator where I support other peer educators in the county, and I am also Inspire Champion which is for a new community designed for 18–30-year-olds in Girlguiding. I am most proud of achieving my Queen’s Guide Award, which is the highest award you can aim for in Girlguiding.

The pandemic had a big impact on young people, both academically and socially, however we tried to support children at school as much as we could. We provided laptops for families that needed them, printed packs and gave lots of virtual feedback.  It proved that as part of a team, we could adapt our approach to care for all. During lockdowns when schools were closed, I taught the Year 4 bubble.

I was selected to travel to Nigeria in the summer of 2020 as part of a Guiding Overseas Linked with Development (GOLD) project, enabling young women to develop their potential and make a difference in the world. Due to the pandemic, this was completed virtually in the summer of 2021, showing that even though it was a virtual project, we were able to inspire young women across Nigeria about important topics, such as wellbeing, equipping them with discussions and activities to complete with their local units. Throughout the pandemic, I supported my unit leaders by taking charge of the weekly virtual meetings. It was amazing to see the leaders’ confidence grow and young people still having fun. Furthermore, as a peer educator, it has given me the confidence to deliver peer education sessions online about resilience to places I would not be able to travel to in person.

The main thing to get me through the pandemic was completing my Scouts of the World Award (SOWA) – I was one of the first awardees in Buckinghamshire and got my award through my work in renovating the outside space of my local scout hut. I turned an old bathtub into a vegetable patch, some overgrown land into a quiet area with a bug hotel and a flower garden. It kept me busy and gave me something to strive toward, but I couldn’t have gotten through the pandemic without the support of my family, friends, and community.

The vegetable patch Charlotte made out of an old bathtub at her scout hut.

The bug hotel and herb/flower garden that Charlotte created at her scout hut.

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