This time last year, I was still teaching and getting ready to break up for the much needed and hotly anticipated school holiday. Twelve months later and my life is virtually unrecognisable.
The summer term in school is crazy. There are reports to write, end of year parent’s evenings, school trips, sports day, leavers concerts, ‘graduation’ celebrations, end of year data, testing, data analysis oh and teaching to fit in. It is truly exhausting. I’ve lost track of the times I have fallen asleep as soon as I’ve got home.
This year has been crazy for another reason. Having made the difficult decision to leave teaching I have had time to reflect upon why so many teachers remain in a job that has made them ill, destroyed their family life and made them into a nervous wreck.
Despite what you may read in the tabloid press or hear on the radio, teachers really do want the best for the children in their class. They will go above and beyond to achieve this. Just because the best for that child may not be a level 3 in SATs or a high score on the Early Years Profile chart does not mean that that child has not achieved. Ask any teacher to tell you about all the wonderful things their class can do and they will have you there for hours. Never get a teacher talking about their class unless you have a good amount of time to listen.
However, what teachers are really, really bad at is recognising their own talents and skills. I know so many teachers who have hidden talents that nobody ever knows about and it is heartbreaking. Teachers are amongst the most .creative, imaginative, expressive, talented people I know. In just one hour at school never mind a day they can be teacher, doctor, social worker, parent, advisor, finance officer, first aider, poet, actor, singer, mathematician, caretaker, gardener, cook or;…the list goes on but you get the idea. And yet, many teachers feel useless.
“Oh I couldn’t possibly leave teaching, I can’t do anything else” is a statement I’ve heard many times.
“But what else can I do?” is another plaintive cry often heard.
And the answer is – ANYTHING.
For me, I needed to explore my creativity further. The spoken and written word is vital to me and should be vital to everyone. Without good communication skills it doesn’t matter how amazing your school results are, you won’t get anywhere.
Not long after making the decision to leave teaching, I spoke to an ex-colleague down in London who gave me a fantastic piece of advice. Upon asking if I was doing the right thing in leaving and pursuing my creativity he said
“Sometimes, when you make the leap of faith, you have to grow your wings on the way down”
Never a truer word spoken. But for, me, the biggest message I took from that was even if your wings don’t fully open, you will have done something wonderful by trying.
. And when I look at some of the things I have tried and achieved I’m really quite staggered.
The last year has been my most creative to date starting with the production of 69 poems that support the teaching of phonics. Since the end of January alone, my creative thinking has seen me
- create the content for an interactive app Little Lamb Phonics which is available on IOS and Google
- crowned the Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate for the North West for a story I wrote
- write two stories about my mascot Lamby and his adventures
- write four more stories about a mis-understood dragon, an astronaut, a pirate and a dinosaur
- start two further stories about Penguins and a dog.
- Set up Little Lamb Tales and secure bookings at schools across the country (all with excellent feedback)
- Start my own Little Lamb Phonics Ltd company
- Attend the International Festival for Business 2014 and learn how to network.
- learn how to use social media and Hootsuite!
I’m not saying my wings have got me safely to the bottom yet but I’m certainly enjoying the view on the way down! Life after teaching is not something I’d ever thought I’d have to think about but sometimes life throws these circumstances at you. Life after teaching is many things and it will be many things to different people but most of all, it IS possible!