Happy summer holidays! Whether you’ve started yours yet, or you can practically feel the heat of that hot cup of coffee you’ll finally be able to drink in peace, I have no doubt you’ve earned it.
This summer will be a little different for me: today I packed up my classroom and handed in my keys.
I’ve decided to take a little break… or as I like to think of it, jumping off the treadmill for a little while.
Since I started college, I’ve spent almost every minute dedicated on progress of some kind: work, career, education, personal, emotional, mental… it’s been a lot. I’m super proud of where I’ve got to, and I mean it when I say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been… but I’m worried about missing it.
I started to feel a little burned out in October and had this prickling internal feeling that it might be time for a break. Then for Christmas I received a copy of ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss. It’s no exaggeration to say this book has changed my life. I saw with clarity how ineffective our lives are: we generally start working hard somewhere between 21-25 years old, then the plan is do that (in increasingly demanding and difficult conditions) for about 40ish years and then we can (hopefully) retire. This book looks at how to change your day to day and how we can do mini breaks along the way. It appealed.
Other people I know have taken career breaks in other ways or to do other things: taking a gap year aged 28, long honeymoons, having babies… one of my colleagues has taken a year off to cycle Europe. A break is natural, and I’ve come to think that this one is okay too.
I’ve worked in 2 very different, but equally difficult schools
over the last 5 years. It’s clarified a lot, but the main thing is I don’t
fancy the shimmy up that greasy pole. I don’t want any TLRs; I don’t want any
titles; I don’t want time taken away from doing the bit that makes me happiest,
which is purely and simply teaching. I’m just not that person.
It was also becoming more and more clear that planning and teaching wasn’t ever at the top of my to do list; it was all the other stuff. I’m an efficient person and I’ve been doing all I can to cut the workload, but ultimately it couldn’t detract from the fact I am constantly exhausted. I thought about moving school, but every year for the past 10 I’ve had a huge change in some capacity and the idea didn’t excite me.
So what’s next?!
Firstly, my website. Last week I crossed the 15,000-user threshold. Fifteen thousand people on a little space I created to share some sheets… madness! I am so proud of LauranTeaches and I want to take some time to see how I can improve it, grow it and create something beautiful to support the amazing English teachers around me. I’ve got resources galore planned and I mean it when I say I can’t wait to show you what’s next.
Secondly, I’ve missed studying. I’ve wanted to do an MA for so very long but there was never the time. As you may have seen, I’m going to study Classics through the OU. I deliberated over something educational, but I realised, perhaps selfishly, that I wanted to study for me and for my passions. I begin in October and I can’t wait.
Thirdly, I’ve realised I love tutoring. I’ve done so much
this year and have found huge joy in small group tutoring. I’m going to be
doing this in the evenings, in a little office in Camberley where I hope I can
keep making the difference, giving energy and support to those students who just
need a little bit more help. Group tutoring facilities aren’t great locally and
I feel like I can do something to help that.
At TENC on Saturday I said that I didn’t become a teacher to get students grade 5s; I became a teacher to help students who could only see a grade 5 that they could get a grade 9. Tutoring gives me such intense fulfilment and joy (to me it’s all the best bits of teaching), and I want to help as many students and parents as I can to get to that goal.
Finally, I want to go and do some other stuff! I’m going to be working with my SCITT provider and helping out their new trainees; I want to work with more international schools and travel a bit more; I’m going to be working with a local school and looking at embedding Literacy in other subjects; I want to visit other schools and learn and develop outside of my own bubble… so let me know if you’re ever up for a chat, a visit or maybe even some collaborating!
So many of the people I’ve trained with have left the education sector completely and I don’t want to do that; I don’t see this as an exit, or that I’m not a teacher – I just need a few months to readjust and recover. I also couldn’t have made this decision without a few people and I’d like to thank them: my unwavering rock Adam; my amazing department who I am so sad to leave; my Twitter parents Grainne and Patrick who have been on my side the whole journey, and my forever supportive friends Megan, Dani and Jess – who all managed to keep this a secret, even after cocktails.
If you’re still reading – THANK YOU because you will have probably shown me some love or support some time recently, and I appreciate you!
Here’s to taking some time to slow down and reboot.