Many teachers take the long way around to get to teaching.
Whether they have a credible career in academia, a failed one at writing or maybe don’t quite hit the mark as a professional sportsman – the noble profession of teaching is always ready and waiting to take skilled professionals and turn them in to winning educators.
Of course, there are thousands of teachers every year who successfully achieve their life goals of becoming teachers.
Regardless of how we come into the profession, there comes a time in every teacher’s career when they feel that their skill set has become somewhat one dimensional.
If you’re a few years into your teaching career and feel like you’re flagging, remember that there is more to your skill set than what your PGCE course has taught you.
I’m only a few years into my teaching career but, whenever I’m feeling a little low, I remember that I am a sum of my experiences and those experiences are what makes me prepared and ready to teach.
Before my PGCE, I worked in broadcasting. A fast paced client based occupation, it was a stressful job where first impressions and people skills were paramount.
However, before I took my first steps into the world of corporate London, I had a stab at starting my own business.
The fact that I’m writing about it now on a Teaching blog, is evidence alone that it didn’t pan out too well.
But, I’ll tell you what I learnt in the one year I spent running my own business and how it gives me confidence in my teaching today.
As I was the sole employee of the company I had created, in the year before I left for Cambridge, I had to balancing my own books. Although I’m an English teacher by trade today, there’s nothing like dealing with your own accounts to remind you of the importance of mathematics. Having that skill in my stable has helped me feel like a rounded teacher, with skills to spare.
Although my business was a basic online vintage clothes store, I still needed to market myself in order to bring in trade. Although I’d designed the logos and website myself – I still needed help to increase my online presence. Thankfully, I had help from a SEO Liverpool company – so I always stayed visible to the people that matter. Although teaching almost always places us in a stationary position, it never hurts to remain an active online professional profile – you never know when a new opportunity can turn up!
One of the last and most important lessons I learned whilst running my own business is that people are important. No business can function without people talking properly and teaching is just the same. Our students are constantly developing their communication skills and it’s up to us to show them what to aspire to. So this means dressing professionally every day – don’t live up to the stereotype of a ramshackle patched tweed jacket teacher, dress to impress!
Our job is a fresh and exciting one, with new developments and ideas constantly changing the way we perceive our role as practitioners.