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Lisa Smith – Credit Transfer

Whilst helping out at her children’s school, Lisa Smith came to the realisation that she wanted to teach maths. Other UK universities refused to accept Lisa’s US degree, but thanks to the OU Lisa was able to ransfer credits from her previous study and she embarked on an Open degree. Despite some personal challenges along the way, Lisa achieved her degree and is now looking forward to starting teaching at her local secondary school.

I first studied at the University of Indianapolis when I left high school in the US and achieved an associate degree in industrial chemistry. In 1997 I moved to the UK with my husband and over the next 13 years I had three children and worked part-time to suit my family commitments. When helping out at my children’s school I found myself back in the classroom, learning how maths was being taught to children. Teaching had changed significantly since I was at school and this whetted my appetite for more; I decided to embark on a career teaching maths.

Universities in the UK wouldn’t accept my US degree, but fortunately I found the OU and they allowed me to transfer some credits from my previous study. After five years of part-time study I graduated with an Open honours degree and throughout the last four years I’ve also been working as a learning support assistant in a dyslexia centre at a local school.

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There were some considerable challenges whilst I was studying: a fire at home resulted in me severely burning both hands, which prevented me from writing and using the computer. I had to learn to write with my hands in bandages and I couldn’t attend tutorials in person as I was unable to drive. In addition, my niece was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumour; that news stopped our whole family in its tracks as we learned to cope. During these times the OU and my tutors were wonderful, very supportive.

I applied for teacher training places and was accepted to begin teaching in the secondary school where I work. Achieving my degree has fulfilled a lifelong dream and I’m excited about this new phase in my life and am looking forward to teaching. Without The Open University, my faith in God, and my extremely supportive family, friends and work colleagues, I never would have made it. My children were at my graduation as I felt it was so important for them to see that hard work is rewarded and my parents flew over from America just to see me graduate!

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