Smiling! The sun has been shining almost everyday for a couple of weeks. We have taken the opportunity to tidy some of the unwieldy garden and hope to spend some more relaxed time reading and working outdoors.
Is an opportunity the same as a chance? I always think of chance involving an element of risk and it has slightly more negative connotations because the odds are often stacked against you; there is a minute chance that I could win the lottery and there’s a chance it could snow tomorrow, but the probability of either scenario is low.
On the other hand, the idea of an opportunity evokes a sense of exciting trepidation, like a mysterious door opening on a new pathway to positivity, hope and growth. A place where learning happens and everyone is able to make a contribution surrounded by a team, the members of which trust each other, are committed, confront problems, are not scared of conflict and focus on results whilst supporting each other to get there.
The quest to be part of somewhere like this is ongoing, but give up shall I not. I am too stubborn!
In 2013 I stopped teaching MFL after a negative experience in the school I had joined as a newly qualified teacher. I may say it was the school I joined as a NQT but in reality, by 2013 it had changed name, status, building and many of the staff. With hindsight, I know I finished my training filled with enthusiasm, fuelled by an ambition to lead and carried the conviction that I would change young people’s lives for the better, by opening their eyes to another language and culture, so I knew things were amiss when my enthusiasm started to wane.
In the school where I undertook most of my training, I was fortunate to have some excellent role models and the memory of three female teachers, in particular, stay vividly in my mind. In fact, two of these women remain good friends. It is amazing to find friends in colleagues that you respect. I will be eternally grateful.
By 2013, my moral purpose was still intact and ambition was still there, but the belief it was going to happen had diminished for a range of reasons. Torn between retraining to do something completely different, such as nursing or midwifery, or find a new school, I started to work as a supply teacher whilst also volunteering at a local school.
From this opportunity, I started to teach English and I learned much over six years: I passed an A-level in English literature with the highest mark; I attended a NATE conference; I became an examiner on two papers for a large exam board; I organised several theatre visits; I planned and organised a speaking and listening, four-part exam for year 8 and in 2019 planned a scheme that went trust wide; I planned and taught lessons from year 6 to year 13; I was the tutor of an amazing tutor group. I had many opportunities that I loved.
So much I have done, I was given an opportunity and grasped it tightly with both hands. After six years, what next? A masters, a new school, a new role…???
Opportunity can sometimes be impulsive and spontaneous, if you decide to take a leap. The next one needs to be planned and even more positive than before.
We can all be ten percent braver. I am as committed and optimistic as the rest. I’m working on growing my self-belief, but reflection is important and so are circumstances. I am determined to find a set of circumstances that will enable to me grow and be a better teacher and human being.
The fiery glow of opportunity casts a beacon of light through the doorway to tomorrow.
What will I see?
I will make sure it’s an opportunity.