Looking back, as with most things when you look back far enough, you start to second guess yourself. But I remember very clearly the main reason I left teaching and went searching for something different.
Shortly after my 26th birthday I woke up one morning and thought I could see my future. At that time, teaching at The British School in Manila, I loved what I was doing. But the thought of doing the same thing for the next 39 years filled me with a sense of foreboding that I couldn’t shake. I wasn’t ready to dedicate my life to anyone thing at 26. A sure sign the 26 year old was going on 16 – but still I felt the need to do something else for a while. I didn’t want to be one of those teachers for whom retirement can’t come quickly enough.
If you read my bio you would quickly understand I was one of those young adults who had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives. If you read my P.E. thesis you would also see that I wasn’t what you would call studious, thoughtful or particularly eloquent. But I have always been brave, I think, or foolish depending on your point of view. And occasionally I’ve also had moments of clarity (not often granted) and knowing I was not equipped for the next 39 years in a classroom I left.
What I did for the next 15 years or so isn’t important (photography) but the result of that time away from the classroom gave me insights in to who I am and what I want from life. It is odd to think I am now more thoughtful, studious and ahem, eloquent than I ever was. And it is also more than a little odd that given all this introspection over the last few years the conclusion I have come to is I want to be a teacher once again.
My history teacher, a marvellous man called Warwick Brookes, once told us that history was like a wheel. It would seem he was, as with so many things, right again as I find myself returning towards a life as an educator.