“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase” – Martin Luther King Jr
Fresh out of teacher training, not even half way through my NQT year, I started to see the school that I loved and the education system that I wanted so much to be a part of begin to crumble. I saw the effect of the new scheme of work on staff on students and on myself. The job that I loved at its core was still the same; I still got to teach the students and enjoyed every minute with the students, especially those in my form. But, the expectation, not just on staff in terms of data and results, but also on students to be able to do harder questions right of the bat, was soul destroying. Good students, who try hard and want to do well, began to fall behind, develop defeatist attitudes because the content was just so different. It didn’t help that we had a change in leadership and the beginnings of academisation, as well as the almighty powers that be changing education at every possible opportunity. It all left me asking myself: should I stay?
At this point I think it vital to say that I love teaching and I could never see myself in any other career. The students make even the worst days hilarious. I arrive home every day, feeling as if I’ve made a difference, even if it’s in just a small way. However, everything else is just changing too fast. I didn’t and don’t want to change schools as it’s pretty much the same in all schools, but I wasn’t sure staying was a good option either. At some point as a teacher, you have to put your own needs first and look after you. I already struggle to manage health issues and the level of stress that comes from so much change and pressure is unhealthy for anyone.
So around Christmas last year, I made possibly the most irresponsible, impulsive decision I’ve ever made. I would quit my job and leave teaching for a year to Travel the world and focus on me for a while. I think if it hadn’t been my NQT year I might have even left that week! Alas, clearer heads prevailed and I gave myself one year, one year to save, plan and go.
A few weeks ago I let my school know my plan and now it has all become very real. Some may say that giving 6 months’ notice was silly of me; however I would hate to see a school that I do still love, struggle to replace me because of the teacher crisis, especially in Maths. I would have felt guilty and at the end of the day I want the department and the school to excel. I am excited to see where education will be when I return and I can only hope the dust will have settled and the education sector can recover to its former glory.
I will 100% be going back into teaching after my travels, hopefully far wiser and more experienced in life. I hope along my way I have the opportunity to visit other schools in different cultures, especially in Africa and South East Asia, however that is not the basis of the trip. This blog is simply a way for me to express my opinions on anything educational, mathematical, or even scientific (my second specialty). Please feel free to get in touch with me via twitter if you want to discuss anything I say, or even have any suggestions for places I should go, I need all the help I can get.
I am simultaneously petrified and extremely excited, the countdown has begun, I leave on January the 5th 2017!