About a month ago, I firmly believed that I knew where I was heading after graduation. I considered myself very lucky to know what career I wanted and looked to completing my degree with positivity and excitement.
I’d decided that I wanted to be an English teacher within a secondary school and that this would be the career I remained in until… forever. Without any experience of working within a secondary school, I began searching for universities that I wanted to complete my PGCE in and assumed that everything would work out perfectly.
Little did I know that my first experience of working in a secondary school would completely derail my desire to become an English teacher. To be quite frank, the work experience was horrific, and during my third week volunteering as a teaching assistant at a secondary school, it dawned on me that I no longer wanted to be an English teacher.
You may question why I gave up so easily and with so little experience to make an appropriate judgement, but the reality was that up until this point, I’d possessed very romantic notions of the career. In hindsight, I think I convinced myself that I wanted to be a teacher and ignored various warnings, such as the following:
1. The first teacher I spoke to asking for work experience with her told me outright not to go into teaching. It was a warning I shouldn’t have taken lightly.
2. My sister shared an article with me which in summation, warned that if you are a perfectionist, you shouldn’t go into teaching. I am a perfectionist, and then some.
3. “Tough Young Teachers”. This BBC Three programme was both a blessing in disguise and a stark warning for me. It was offering me the reality of the classroom on a plate.
4. I kept coming across articles on how much work teachers did, the external pressures of the job and ultimately, how little they were paid for how large amount of their life they invested in the career. It was hard to read.
5. No teacher I spoke to offered positives about the career. One teacher did, but I had caught him looking deflated, rubbing his tired eyes with his head in his hands and appearing half-dead on his chair immediately after one of his lessons had ended. This image stayed with me forever.
As well as ignoring these warnings, I had been ignoring my real passion: writing. My blog is one of the most important things to me and recently, I acquired a strong attachment to writing and producing content for it. My dream to become a writer had been staring at me in the face all along, but I wanted to choose the safe option and ignore what my heart really wanted.
Don’t do the same.
I suppose in revealing all this I’m attempting to get through to anyone who may be pushing their dreams and passions aside to settle for something less or ‘safe’. Although I was distraught upon realising that teaching was not the career for me, I was even more happier to place my confidence in my dream to write. In all honesty, a huge burden was lifted once I focused on where I really wanted to be, and now, I’m working towards this goal harder than ever.
Not everything is set in stone, although sometimes we may want it to be. Aspirations you have today might not stick around tomorrow, but if they do and you want to do something or be somewhere, only you can work to make it happen. Forget what others think and what others want for you, do what YOU want to do, and never settle for less.