Eaglesham man recognised after overcoming severe stammer to land dream teaching job

Adam Black used the same life-changing speech therapy programme as Gareth Gates and Educating Yorkshire’s Musharaf Asghar.

Primary teacher Adam Black with his British Citizen Award (Photo: East Kilbride News)

Primary teacher Adam Black with his British Citizen Award

Achieving a lifelong ambition of a career in teaching always seemed a pipe dream for Eaglesham dad Adam Black.

Growing up with a severe stutter, the 28-year-old struggled with speech and lacked confidence his entire life until he discovered a life-changing stammer therapy programme.

Used by the likes of pop singer Gareth Gates and Educating Yorkshire’s Musharaf Asghar, The McGuire Programme helped Adam overcome his condition and land his dream job.

Adam told the News his aspirations were cut short after having a particularly bad experience with a careers advisor.

He said: “I’d just finished my higher exams and went to a careers event and was surprised at how horrified the advisor was when I said I was considering a career in teaching.

“I was only 17 so that really shook my confidence.” Adam felt he was left with no other option but to choose a course that didn’t involve presentations where he would have to speak in front of a class – and ended up studying sports management.

But, eager to overcome his insecurities and chase his teaching dream, Adam built up the courage to take the leap into speech therapy, which is where he found The McGuire Programme.

He added: “It taught me how to control my stutter and be happy with it.

“I learned breathing techniques to help manage it as best I could. It made me feel more confident so I decided I wanted to have another pop at teaching.

“Being such a great demand on my speech, it’s not a job I ever thought I could do. Before the programme I had no control over my stammer.

“The most important thing is the psychology – you need to keep telling yourself you’re in control of it.”

Adam landed his dream job and has been teaching at Shawlands Primary in Glasgow for the past five years.

He says his pupils and colleagues couldn’t be more supportive and added: “At the start of the year I just sit the kids down and talk to them about it. It’s best if you’re open and honest with them.

“Everyone has their own quirks – you just need to embrace them the best you can.”

Adam is now a coach who has helped thousands of fellow stutterers beat the condition and was this year recognised for his campaign work on TV and radio in raising awareness of the condition.

He is the proud recipient of a British Citizen Award which he received at a ceremony in the Palace of Westminster in January.

“My family were really proud,” said Adam. “Like me, they never thought I’d be teaching, never mind receiving an honour for it. I just encourage parents to have conversations with their kids and tell them to see the person, not the stammer.”