Zak Toms

Zak Toms

Mentor

Hi! I’m Zak. I can’t wait to get to know you!

A little bit about me: I have an undergrad degree in Sociology and Social Policy as well as a post-grad teaching qualification, specialising in primary education. While I have now moved away from education specifically, my passion still lies with working alongside young people. Before entering education, I used to work as a chef! I -love- food and being creative in the kitchen and still push myself every day to come up with fun, new recipes.

While teaching, my biggest challenge was never having enough time for what matters. Being a friendly, open person, I often found that many students would come to me to chat about what was on their mind. We’d be halfway through a talk, getting to the source of whatever was troubling them and then I’d be called away to teach the next lesson. As much as I would strive to ensure the young person was listened to, respected, nurtured, there would always be something in the way. A system that prioritises teaching fronted adverbials over a young person’s health and wellbeing didn’t sit right with me so that’s why I have joined MindJam! My experiences have led me to have an in-depth knowledge of educational systems and processes and as such I am fully-versed in areas such as EHCP’s and Pupil Profiles. As with all MindJam mentors, I also have completed Safeguarding training (with a full DBS) and training on various areas of SEND such as PDA.

My expertise mainly lies with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) and LGBTQIA support. Being both neurodivergent (Autistic) and a member of the LGBTQIA community (bi/non-binary), I have first-hand experience of what a young person may be going through in these areas. Regarding SEND, I have worked with many young people with additional needs throughout the years and can speak with authority about SEND pathways, support and strategies to make life just that little bit easier. During my time as a teacher, I was immensely honoured to have many young people trust me as their first person to talk to regarding their gender or sexuality. Having someone to talk to who has ‘gone through it’ can be invaluable to a young person as they know they will feel validated and listened to in a non-judgmental way.

But enough about that! What about the games? Games have been a massive part of my life. As a neurodivergent child, the world was often scary and confusing to me so I found solace and comfort in gaming. This passion has continued into adult-hood and so many of my interests (from cooking, to tourism and culture) have been influenced by games. As such, I know what a powerful difference they can make. I enjoy a whole variety of games, from adventure games, cosy games (gotta love Stardew), to competitive online games such as EAFC and Rocket League. I’ve even competed with my Rocket League team and while I can’t claim to be anywhere near making the RLCS, I like to think I can hold my own against most teams!

While I, (nor anyone else), cannot profess to have an in-depth knowledge of every single game or coding software out there, I’m a quick learner and I love getting to know new systems. Why don’t we learn a new skill together?

Favourite Games

EAFC, Rocket League, Yakuza/Like a Dragon, Stardew Valley, Baldur’s Gate 3, Dragon’s Dogma 2, Zelda, Football Manager, Halo, TTRPGs, Resident Evil, Pokemon, Animal Crossing and much more!

 

Hobbies

Gaming, cooking, cinema, podcasts, football, wrestling (WWE/AEW), tabletop gaming.

My Pets

Rocky- my garden snail! Some May think it strange to have a garden snail as a pet, but we rescued them as a baby just before winter and haven’t looked back! Their favourite food is courgette.

We'd love to hear from you.

If you would like our team to get in touch with you to discuss how we can help you and your young people through our services, please feel free to fill out our contact form, and we will be in touch as soon as possible to talk you through enrolling with one of our mentors or counsellors

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