“A liar, cheat and a thief”
Those were the words ringing in my ears the day I walked into a Rehab centre 15 years ago. The words spoken over me as a child – words that seemed to have prophetically come true.
‘Husband, ‘Father, ‘Son’, ‘Teacher’, the only words I will accept to be spoken over me today.
Nearly 20 years as a Heroin addicted, alcoholic, homeless, begging, shop lifting, criminal, were soon to be coming to an end when I walked through the doors of a rehabilitation centre. Little did I know, or even dare to dream, what my life was to become.
The start of my rehab journey was to see me start a journey back into the wonderful world of education – and I say ‘wonderful’ now, my previous experience of education at school was very much different. In the school system I only found bullying, I had no sense of self, I experienced difficulties at home, I didn’t feel like I fitted in, I couldn’t concentrate in class. School did not work for me and so I didn’t work for school. I left without a single GCSE, an alcohol problem, and a deep desire to run away. I ran away, for nearly 20 years.
Today, my life has been transformed beyond measure, today of all days as I write this – my wife and I have been accepted for a mortgage to buy our very own house. Me, buying a house! Me, that was living in a shop doorway 15 years ago!
Adult learning proved to be so powerful and life transforming for me, it motivated me to become a teacher. I then went onto win an Inspire! Tutor Award in 2015. I now have the absolute privilege of being an ambassador for lifelong learning and I will continue to tell everybody, anywhere, about the transformational power of adult learning.
From leaving school with no qualifications, stuck in a cycle of drug addiction and imprisonment – to being a happily married father of one beautiful little girl. I am ‘living the dream’ as they say. All because I overcame my fear of the classroom and realised that school was one bad experience many years ago.
My advice to you? Don’t let your past define your future – own it, move on from it, and get back in that classroom, I promise you it’s a totally different world. Learn to love learning all over again, like I did, and who knows? You may well be living your dream in years to come.
Scott Jenkinson, Inspire! Tutor Award winner 2015, Founder of ‘Youth Shedz Cymru’ and adult learning ambassador