Lesson by Lesson

For one of my modules for university this year, we are being assessed on a lesson plan. Well, I’ve been creating lesson plans since I was six years old. I used to coerce my younger brother into being a pupil in my class – drawing up maths and spelling questions and gifting him my soft toys as a ‘well done’. I’ve lead drama and music groups, I’ve loved the preparation, supervising the rewards schemes – when I was eight I promised myself I would become a teacher because there was nothing that I could imagine that gave me excitement in my gut like that did. So what changed? Because now I’m twelve weeks away from finishing my degree and and the thought of teaching as a career does so little for me.

I’ve undertaken a module entitled ‘Creativity: Writing and Teaching’ just to keep my options open, just to make absolutely sure my burning passion isn’t just being very very shy. I have come up with a successful lesson plan focusing on creative writing as therapy for young adults with depression and I enjoyed running it and seeing the positive results it achieved. I have a part-time job running taster sessions for 15/16 year olds in journalism and creative writing. It’s the most obvious career choice – everything points to it. But then I see the look in the faces of some of my close friends who actively want to pursue this in the future and I simply don’t have that passion. I truly believe a teacher must have passion. How demotivating must it be to be taught by someone who doesn’t want to be there?

I have never wanted to work harder in my life than when I have a teacher who inspires me. I’ve had one great French teacher, two fantastic maths teachers and three amazing English teachers. I imagine if I’d have had four super duper science teachers, I’d probably be hunched over a page full of ridiculous equations right now. Those English teachers shaped me entirely and I will never forget that inspiration that made me who I am. Those three people combined grew me a passion. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them – and I know that I’d never have the work ethic that I do now had they not been my teacher.

I can’t imagine somebody saying that about me.

I don’t mean to offend anyone who’s goal is to come out of university and go straight into teaching (in fact I admire that beyond anything – the motivation to take what you’ve learned and give it straight back), but for me, to do that would mean that I’ve given up on myself. I’ve accepted a career in which I’m encouraging the making of young people having not made anything of myself. Everyone who knows me tells me I should be in teaching and the response I always give is ‘how can I teach when I’m nowhere near finished learning myself?’ They tell me that it will come with time; they say if I want to write a book I can do that in the school holidays. ‘It’s okay for your £27,000 degree to just be a hobby.’

I think I do have a career in teaching. And when I’ve reached the peak of my writing career I’ll be first in the ‘give me a PGCE’ queue. I think giving someone inspiration must be the most wonderful thing in the world, but I think being able to inspire yourself is something entirely as important – and for me at twenty-two years old, it’s a priority.

All I can do until I get there is keep writing; because for the time being, there is absolutely nothing I love more.

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