I would love to tell you that I always dreamed of being a teacher as a young child, and that I followed this course passionately all through my primary and secondary years. I then went into my university degree, and emerged triumphantly onto my teaching training course, ready to take on the world of education. But my journey has not quite been like that.
I have always adored reading and English was by far my favourite subject at school. I was also lucky enough to have the same incredible teacher through my GCSE and A Level years, and this really helped to cement my love for the subject, and my desire to pursue it further. I achieved the top grades at GCSE and A Level, but for me this was as much the consequence of dedication and hard work, as it was intelligence.
When I got to university, I found that my path suddenly got bumpier. For the first time in my life, I struggled to get the results I wanted. I worked and worked, and had to ignore the individuals around me who wrote their essays the night before they were due and were given a 1st. I did eventually start to achieve the higher grades I wanted to and moved closer to my dream of completing a PhD in English. I secured a spot on my Masters course, and was then also successful in getting a place at a university to complete my PhD thesis.
The problem was, the offer of a place did not come with an offer of funding. I had to apply separately, but securing funding in the Arts is a Herculean task. My grades were good enough to get the PhD place, but not strong enough to fend off the hundreds of other applicants who were also after the funding. Needless to say, I was unsuccessful.
The six months that followed were dark. I applied for job after job, but whilst I got through to interviews and assessment centres, I never secured the offer, probably because as much as I tried, I found it so difficult to manufacture the energy and excitement they were looking for. I knew deep down that I was applying for positions and roles that were just not me, but I felt trapped and under immense pressure to earn money.
My then-boyfriend, now husband, suggested that I should see if there was anyone in my local area that was after English tuition. At first I was dismissive of the idea. But after a couple of months, I decided to do some research to see what was required. I put a few advertisements out, and was stunned when enquiries started to emerge. A few students signed up for lessons with me, and my life as a private tutor had begun.
What I discovered very quickly, was that I loved teaching other people. For the first time since leaving university, I had energy and purpose once more. I researched the different exam boards and did lots of reading in order to ensure my subject knowledge was up-to-date. I found that the students enjoyed my lessons, and I loved being able to make a positive difference in their lives. It seemed like the perfect work for me. I got to reignite my love of English by teaching the subject every day, whilst also helping students find their own enjoyment of the subject and build their confidence.
A few months later, I spotted an advertisement at the Chatham Dockyard, looking for Education Assistants. I was intrigued by the opportunity, and decided to apply. After a successful interview, I was offered a position in the team. This was a job offer that changed my life. I adored every second I spent at the Dockyard, and what I found was that whilst I loved teaching one-to-one, I also enjoyed leading classes and the different teaching dynamic that came with it.
This led me to the conclusion that classroom teaching was the way forward. Getting onto a teacher training course and also financing it was not easy, but this time I was driven by the conviction that this was where I was meant to be, and I got there. Training as a teacher was incredibly hard work, and I had some dark days, but I also had many highs, in particular being appointed as Key Stage Five Coordinator, and then later the High Achieving Pupils Coordinator.
My situation changed after the birth of my two children, and I sadly did reach the point where full time teaching in school was no longer feasible. Yet, I have learnt that teaching is a part of me, and there is no escaping this. It is what I am meant to do, and this realisation is how Bright Sky Tutoring evolved. I have been through some really tough times, but throughout it all, one way or another, teaching has always been the answer. I come alive when I talk about it, and even though it is not always easy, it is definitely the path I was made to follow.
So why share this story with you? Education is an essential path we all have to follow, and yet for many of us, it can become demotivating, or even damaging. Resilience is one of the most important skills that young people need to develop, as we are preparing them for a world that at times will seem tough and uncaring. There were many times along the way where I wanted to give up, where it just seemed too hard and too exhausting to continue. And yet looking back, I can see how it all fits together, and how I did come to the place I was supposed to be. I can empathise with students who are feeling lost in the system, but I also know that with focus and determination, they will find their own path, and not just walk along it, but fly.
Would you like to find out more about how Bright Sky Tutoring could help your child? I offer one to one and small group secondary English lessons. Get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org.