MOST people at the age of 45 are well adjusted within their careers, with some even holding senior positions at their respective places of employment, however, Northdene resident Sharon Sweet’s story is quite the contrary.
“I’m here for myself, I am following my dream. I should have done this a long time ago.” This was what motivated Sweet, a current lecturer at Embury Institute for Teacher Education, to begin her four year teaching degree at Embury. Although, she did not match the typical criteria of most students who are starting a tertiary education career. At the start of her teaching degree at Embury, Sweet was a 45-year-old family figure who ran a business, and most interestingly, did not hold a matric qualification .
“I felt that I was too old to start studying to become a teacher,” is what she said while tallying up the excuses to not pursue her passion. What led Sweet to Embury was an unfortunate series of business-related incidents, including a devastating fire and debilitating criminal activity which almost cost her business and her financial stability. This ultimately drove her to see a psychologist who ended up asking her what her biggest regret in life was. “Never becoming a teacher,” was her response. This simple question triggered her motivation that was dormant for many years. It was not long after, that she registered at Embury, an independent teacher training institution managed by Curro Holdings, following the discovery that she qualified by age to study at a tertiary institution.
And thus, her dream to become a teacher was finally being realised at 45-years-old. During her four years of studying towards her degree, Sharon delved into the world of achievements. In her first year, she received the Top Achiever award, which was one of her proudest moments. Thereafter, she was voted onto the Student Representative Council (SRC), and despite not fitting the typical student profile, was later elected as SRC president in 2015. Throughout Sweet’s academic journey, her husband and two teenage boys remained untiring in their support.
“Four years of hard work, juggling a business, looking after a family and being a full-time student certainly had its hardships, but in the end, it paid off,” she said proudly. “Embury has given me so much in my life – they really give their students such golden opportunities. I was even fortunate enough to travel to Norway on an exchange programme.”
Sweet has bypassed the traditional role of a teacher in the classroom and is realising her dream in the lecture hall as junior lecturer at Embury Institute for Teacher Education.