You know from a pretty young age I wanted to be a school teacher. I remember playing schools with my younger sister and my two little brothers. I remember organising a kids club when I was only 10/11 years old myself and planning and running it for a few years. I remember helping our lodger (a teacher) to create worksheets (I drew pictures on them for her) in the days before photocopiers when they used Banda machines and all the copies came out purple.
The last couple of years of high school were challenging for me for various reasons and I only managed to achieve the minimum requirements for uni to train as a teacher. At the time that was three Cs at Higher level, one of which had to be English. I did well at the interview for uni but because of my grades only managed to get a place on the waiting list for the course. In the end I didn’t get in.
As a result I needed to get a job or find something else to do for a year until I could try again. At my parents suggestion I went to volunteer for a year at a Christian healing centre in England. My tasks included cleaning toilets, washing dishes, peeling potatoes and singing in the worship group. While I was there I met the guy who became my husband the following year.
After our year out he went to Bible college and I went to work. We weren’t entitled to any support from the government at that time for his college fees so working for a while became my priority. After we’d been married two years my daughter was born and 19 months later my son. Obviously now teacher training was pretty far back in my mind. I did various part time jobs but primarily I was a stay at home mum.
When my son went to school at 5 years old I decided to try again to become a teacher but by now the entry requirements had changed and I no longer qualified. Never one to be beaten I decided to take a different route. I decided I’d get another degree first and then do a post-graduate certificate. I wanted to do something that would interest me since I was going to be at it for three years so I applied and was accepted to college to study BA Theology with a Children’s Ministry Specialism. In my third year when I was nearing the end of my degree and writing assignments and on placement (not to mention looking after two children) I looked into applying for teacher training again. This time I discovered that I needed to update my maths qualification as the one I had done at school was now ‘too old’ and no longer acceptable. So in addition to everything I was already doing I went to a different college to take a maths course.
After graduating from Bible college I finally went on to do my teaching qualification. It was hard work cramming in the study and placements and raising a family and looking after a home but with a lot of sweat and tears (literally) and lack of sleep I did it.
I’ve been teaching for thirteen years now. I love working with kids and I’ve made some great friends in the different schools I’ve worked in but there are lots of downsides and difficult parts of the job that I won’t go into just now because it’s not the point of this post. For the last two or three years I’ve been feeling like it was time to move on but wasn’t sure what I could or should do or what else I was qualified for.
Just over a year ago now I did some training to enable me to teach relaxation to children. Since then I’ve been running those classes part time in a couple of different schools and in the community when I’ve not been in my own school. About six weeks ago I took the scary step of resigning from my teaching post to focus on running my own business.
I had very mixed feelings last Wednesday when I went to school as a teacher for the final time. I was a bit emotional about leaving the children and my friends but also very excited about the future, about stretching myself and taking this leap. It made me wonder about my identity again. In the UK we tend to link our identities very closely with what we do rather than who we are. What will my identity be when I’m not a teacher? How will I tell people who I am? I felt nervous about leaving the security of a regular income for basically no financial security.
Going out on my own feels like a huge risk but it also feels life-giving. I’m so excited to be doing something that I love. To have more control over my working hours and my own days. I’m excited to get my logo made and my website going (hopefully soon). I hope it won’t be a complete flop. I hope it doesn’t become a chore. I hope I’ll make enough money to live on. It feels like it could go either way but I had to do it. I had to try. One of my favourite speakers/authors is Bob Goff and I really like this quote by him.
Don’t let what you’re afraid of keep you from what you were made for.
Sometimes you have to take a risk in order to move forward. So that’s where I’m at. Taking a risk and putting myself out there. I’ll let you know how it goes. 😊