Jenny Brown, Outreach Teacher, Glasgow Dyslexia Support Service

picture Jenny Brown Jenny Brown, Outreach Teacher, explains the interesting and varied role she has in the Glasgow Dyslexia Support Service.

“My role as an outreach teacher with Glasgow Dyslexia Support Service (GDSS) involves working in partnership with primary and secondary schools, parents and others to support learners with dyslexia throughout Glasgow.”

Jenny started her working life as a teacher in the infant stages. She explains what drew her to working with children with dyslexia: “I became increasingly fascinated by the ways in which we acquire the skills needed to learn how to read and write.  It was clear that not all pupils managed to do this at the same pace and I wanted to further investigate the reasons for this.  I’ve always been an avid reader and I wanted others to be able to share this experience.  This led to further study and interest in applying for my current job.  I continued my studies and I am now a Chartered Teacher.   I enjoy supporting young people in the wider aspects of their learning as dyslexia doesn’t only affect literacy skills.”

Asked how her current role makes a direct difference to young people and their families, Jenny explains: “At GDSS we use research-based knowledge, strategies and resources to help young people aged 3-18 to develop their literacy and their study skills.  Other aspects of life can also be affected by dyslexia and we work closely with teachers and parents as well as the young people themselves to allow them to develop coping strategies, which will be of life-long use.  We also work with adult literacy tutors to extend this support in the wider community.”

A typical day doesn’t really exist for Jenny. “My working days are very varied and this means I get the benefit of meeting and working with lots of interesting people.   I spend part of my day working in a school where my time will be spent either teaching a class or a group in collaboration with members of the school staff.  I might also work with a child on an individual basis if I am demonstrating strategies or assessment to another teacher.

The rest of my day could be spent delivering presentations or workshops to school staff or parents or meeting with them in smaller groups to plan next steps.  My aim is always to share as much as possible with schools and their staff so that they will be even more confident about supporting dyslexic learners they may have in the future.”

Jenny finds making a difference to a learner or a professional’s life one of the most rewarding parts of the job. “Last week I really enjoyed being part of a Pupil Learning Conference within a whole learning community which we planned and delivered together.  It’s fantastic when teachers tell me that I have added to their teaching skills or when I see a breakthrough in a learner’s progress.”

But the job is not without its challenges. “One of the main challenges as a visiting teacher to a wide range of schools is dealing with the unexpected.  Every school has its own daily challenges and you have to be prepared to be flexible and be able to adapt your approach.”

And what does Jenny think is the most valuable lesson she’s learned in her job? “Plan for the unexpected and enjoy whatever happens!”

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