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Posts Tagged ‘English’

I took a trip to the Guardian this week. It was actually a bit of a day out for me and my fellow trainee teachers to that there London, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was all part of supporting us in a project we are doing with two schools whereby we set up a newspaper simulation day for the children to get a glimpse at what it’s like to be journalists for the day. They have to arrange interviews, come up with story ideas and on the day will have to write copy, take photographs and create a print and online version of their paper.

Given my background, i.e., my degree in journalism and 12 years in the industry, I was faced with the obvious questions from my peers about my previous life. Where better to ask a so-called failed journalist if they regret not making it than in the hub of one of the most respected newspaper in the UK?

So it got me thinking, and on the train home I asked myself, and I asked for an honest answer of myself: am I ashamed of or regretful about my failed aspirations as journalist? And the truth is no, I’m not. When I set out to be a journalist I had the goal of a 15-year-old in mind. I wanted to use language to spread and share knowledge and being a news hound was the best way I could think of at the time. It all seemed so logical. So off I went down that path. But I can trace my ‘failed aspirations’ to a single moment in class. A time when we covered what is known as the ‘Death Knock’. And I knew from that moment on I wasn’t cut from the right cloth to be a journalist, in spite of pleas from my tutors to ‘toe the line for a couple of years’. I didn’t have what it takes to knock on the doors of people who had just tragically lost relatives and loved ones all in the name of ‘getting the story’. I’m not built to impose on people’s grief like that, and I never will be.

So it begs the question why did I continue with my degree? Well, I’ve never been one for quitting anything for a start. And for another thing I began to choose options which would send me down a different path, one of online and specialist journalism which eventually did lead to me having a few interesting and exciting jobs in the media.

Do I regret never becoming the Guardian journalist I always dreamed I would? Still the honest answer is no. I was passionately chasing a dream, but it was the wrong dream. The essence of what I wanted to do as a journalist (and why I chose it as my degree) was that I wanted to impart knowledge, share experiences and ideas, do something important for mankind, and what better way to do that than the way I am now doing as an English teacher? I can’t think of one. And that degree and brief journalistic career helped get me to this point. As my dear old Mum always says, ‘nothing is ever wasted’, my background has become the mainstay of my vision of what kind of teacher I want to be, how I want to share knowledge and encourage fresh and independent thinking.

Now I dream about fuelling inquisitive minds, and helping young people on their path towards their own dreams. And that is now the single most important thing that has ever happened to me.

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Not that I have many subscribers, but those of you who are around and wondering what has happened to me, here it is: I have left the cruel, corporate world and swapped my modem for a marking pen. That’s right, I’m training to be a teacher. Yikes, eh?

It was an obvious choice, but not obvious in the sense of waking up one day and realising this was what I was meant to be doing. It was a collection of experiences accumulated over the past few years which have carved this inevitable path for me. I did some teaching abroad – loved it! Had some time in classrooms here in secondary schools – loved it! Got tired of the repetative nature of my previous job and feeling unfulfilled and stuck, so added up the small pieces and lept out of my comfortable routine.

I took a chance. I applied for my PGCE course, and essentially signed up for no money, hard graft, being out of my comfort zone, leaving Bristol, and living back with my mother, all for at least one year. Sounds a bit shit when I put it like that, doesn’t it? But the reality of what I have done far outweighs these above so-called negatives. I finally get the chance to do something I genuinely love doing – learning! And what better way for me to ensure I keep learning for the rest of my adult life than by teaching others? None. I get to indulge in great (and sometimes not so great) literature and get paid for it. I get to wake up every day safe in the knowledge that today won’t be the same as yesterday, and that new challenges await me. I get to work with some amazingly creative, exciting, open, honest and inspiring people every day, people who haven’t had a lifetime of prejudice build up around and inside them, people who aren’t drowning in cynicism or political ideology. People who are fragile, and caring, and fun, and funny. Exciting isn’t it?

I hope to chart my progress here as and when I can so that any long-lost or ether friends can take a peek at what I am up to from time to time, and so that one day, when I am cynical and burnt out, I can remember why I took this leap of faith, and what I had planned for my life.

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