The Teacher’s Journey

I was fortunate to spend my weekend with an outstanding group of current and retired teachers and advocates of physical education, health and dance at the IAHPERD Leadership Conference as we discussed our delivery of a quality curriculum across the state. We also started our preparation towards our 2 day convention in November – this year’s theme is “We Are Essential”. It was an exciting couple of days but what invigorated me most was spending time with a group of future professionals who are only just starting their journey towards becoming outstanding educators. These students had the opportunity to participate in team building activities, get some much needed interview practice and attend some presentations delivered by experienced teachers. They also had the opportunity to socialize and network with the teachers present, all of whom were willing to answer questions and offer advice for the future.

In my presentation to the future professionals I reflected upon my journey towards becoming a teacher with nearly 20 years of experience and I realized that in many ways I inadvertently tried quite hard NOT to become a teacher. This included:

  • Planning on leaving high school at 16 (you can do this in England and it wasn’t uncommon) and arranging job interviews with a number of banks in London. I was talked into staying in education by an older student.
  • Planning on leaving high school at 18 but again was persuaded to stay in education, which also gave me the opportunity to play basketball in college.
  • Planning on becoming a fitness consultant after graduating from college. Instead I took a year out of education, worked to get money together and returned to college to train to become a Physical Education teacher.

All throughout this time, I wasn’t convinced that I even wanted to become a teacher and it wasn’t until I started teaching full time that I realized what a great job it was and that I got a great deal of satisfaction from it.

  • Quitting teaching after 7 years due to feeling jaded, frustrated at seeing how poorly many young teachers were treated, and a desire to chase a big salary.

I became a recruitment consultant and did make good money, but one thing was missing and that was the emotional reward that we get from working with children and seeing them grow. So I returned back to teaching and admitted to myself that teaching was, in fact, my calling.

  • Quitting a great teaching job 5 years later…..because I had fallen in love with an American girl.

Again I couldn’t teach for a year while I waited for my green card to be processed. Finally I got my first real break in America (thanks Carmel!) and then found myself teaching at a great school, alongside great teachers and with awesome students. 16 years into my career and I was finally in my dream teaching job. 16 years!

Our journeys towards becoming a great teacher – and we are all still going through that journey of ‘becoming’  – are unique but along the way we will have had some similar experiences.

I wrote this week’s #slowchathealth questions with future professionals in mind.

Answer each daily question in turn, or all at once. It’s all good!

Q1 Who inspired you to become a teacher?

Q2 Who supported you throughout your journey towards becoming a teacher?

Q3 What obstacles have you overcome in your journey towards becoming a successful teacher?

Q4 How have you benefited from mentors throughout your career?

Q5 What advice would you give to to someone just starting their journey towards becoming a teacher?

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