As the Christmas holiday drew to a close, myself and my friends gathered together for one last catch up. They all shared their dread at returning to work after the break. I, on the other hand, shared the fact that I was thinking about getting back into things but was certainly not dreading it. My friend's husband said to me, "oh but you are lucky because you love your job though" and we laughed and moved onto our next topic of conversation. Later that evening, I was thinking about what they said and the fact that, actually, I am not "lucky" - I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to do as a job and I work hard at it. I am a strong believer that you get out what you put into something. I love my job, and I don't care who knows it. I feel privileged to have the chance to work with young people and possibly help them make their lives better in the future.
The very first time I had an inkling of my true passion was during my life before teaching. I was working in a very lovely marketing and advertising office in Liverpool, having fallen into the job after university. I loved the team I worked with, got loads of perks and was promoted twice in a short space of time. You would think I would have been very happy indeed. I was not. I was bored, there was just something missing. What was I doing this for? I didn't care about it! So I started to search for my passion in life - that thing that would make me happy. There it was - teaching! They thought I was mad and perhaps I was.
My life changed completely when I was accepted on to my PGCE teaching course and moved to London to study at The Institute of Education. I was completely inspired, excited about what I was doing and eager to learn. This experience was a vastly different to my time spent in advertising. I had found my passion. This was the thing that had been missing. I felt sorry for people who were "just going to work to get money for the weekend" as I was getting money and loving what I was doing. Now let me be clear, it was no smooth ride and teaching teenagers certainly ain't for the feint hearted or the easily offended. I loved what I did regardless.
I think I really began to appreciate how wonderful it is that I have honed in on my passion for teaching and learning when my father was diagnosed with cancer in my NQT year, one year into teaching. It really does help put things into perspective when you are faced with experiences like this. I reflected a lot on life and the fact it can be taken from us in the blink of an eye. It made me realise I was doing the right thing following my passion, making my family proud and making a difference. I was in a challenging inner London school at the time and OFSTED visited that same week. If that is not enough to test your passion I don’t know what is. That is when the real spark was ignited, I knew I wanted to do this crazy job.
I have developed my passion for teaching in many ways over the years; working for hours at home in the early days, training courses, working with other teachers in my teams, listening to my bosses and learning as much as I can from them, researching and reading books on teaching, reflecting on my practice in the classroom, trying new things in the classroom, taking risks, listening to others, adapting what I am doing and the list goes on. At the heart of what I do is getting the very best for the students I teach and I have done this in every school I have taught at so far. Teaching brings me great joy, even on a tough day and for that I must be truly grateful that I made the choice to take up this profession.
I have great friends and family and a real passion for what I do as a job, so I know I really have so much to be thankful for in my life. I am not lucky though, I have chosen to spend time with people I love, work in a job that I love and I work hard at it every day because it makes my life richer.
Developing teaching and learning both in my own practice and others is my passion and I am a full on teaching and learning nerd, and proud. You can make a living out of your passion, whatever it is. If your passion is sport become an athlete. If your passion is food work towards becoming a top chef. If your passion is animals become a zoologist. If your passion is clothing become a designer. The world is your oyster go grab your dream.
1. Don't know what your passion is? Think back to when you were a child. What were you passionate about then, what did you love? "You are what you repeatedly do"
2. Do one thing every day that follows your passion. Schedule it in if necessary as life is hectic and you can often focus on the stuff that will never make you happy.
3. Your passions may change - be ok with that.
4. Make a creativity board to focus your mind on what your passion is all about. It will allow you to become creative within that passion.
5. Make a list of people you admire that are involved in your passion, so you can emulate what you like about how they work. Do some research if you don't now who these people are. It is always good to have a role model.
6. Research your passion, you might be surprised at what you find out there.
7. Envision the end of your life. What do you want to have achieved? Work towards that.
8. Reflect on your passion. If it changes how can you use all you have learnt from your first passion to develop alongside your new one?
9. Ignore the haters. People will always nit-pick, laugh at and mock what they fear or don't understand. More likely than not they have not found their passion or they would most definitely understand. Feel for them and be yourself.
Life is too short to be doing something you don't love, sometimes that takes hard work but boy is it worth it.
Embrace your inner nerd and be proud of what you love.