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I wasn't always a teacher. What else can you bring to the classroom?



I enjoyed this post by Rachel a few weeks ago.  Got me thinking about the different masks that I wear in school.  I started teaching when I was around 24 years old after having had one or two other things on the go, including:
/ Roofer
/ Picker of fruit, vegetables, grapes
/ Demolition worker
/ Labourer
/ Chimney liner
/ Trainee Pilot in the RAF
/ Bar man
/ Shelf stacker
/ World Traveller
/ Outdoor instructor
/ Field studies tutor
/ Social Organiser (seriously - it was awesome)
I've also had an amazing and interesting life, including:
/ Growing up with physical and psychological domestic abuse
/ The son of a mine manager at Mardy Colliery, last pit in the Rhondda, during the 1985 Miners Strike.  Try being six years old. Shaped my political views to this day and it's awful what happened to the Valleys.
/ Went to a school where Year 5 and 6 were taught together, there were ten of us. Went to three Secondary Schools.
/ Lived in a Women's Aid hostel, in one room, when I was 13. With my mother and three siblings (now I have 4). I can relate to those who can't have mates over after school.
/ A little sister with autism
/ One or two false turns
/ A sister who gave birth to my wonderful niece at 15 
/ Almost got married, then didn't.  The photo above was taken just after this, the aloneness was poignant. 
/ Gave in my notice in the October of my NQT year
/ Once ate the hottest curry on Earth
These experiences do two things:
1. They drive me to be working in education as a public servant.  My aim is to make a difference, and sometimes I achieve that as well as being heartbroken when I can't.  It also helps that teaching is so varied as I have a restless soul.  However, teaching is never as bad as life and work could be.  It sounds really corny, but I serve at the pleasure of the young people and teachers and this job is really great.  Curriculum changes and workload pressures just add to the fun.
2. Given me the perspective to deal with a range of students.  I like to bring my own experiences into the classroom / assembly when it's appropriate.  It's a difficult balance and I'm sure that at times I can over do it, however, the experiences of travel, culture and dealing with issues can add rich depth to lessons and when talking to students.
Of course, at other times I wear different masks in school, and some may decide not to give anything personal about themselves in the classroom, and I'm comfortable with that.
Thinking about the past and remembering where I come from and where I've been, puts life into perspective.  Teaching?  I wouldn't be doing anything else. 

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