Careers, vocations, and loving what you do…

I’m about to make a career move. This career move is taking me back to a world that I have worked in before, and it is a move I could not be more delighted to make!

I’m returning to the classroom and to teaching.

It’s not been an easy road over this past 18 months to 2 years since I stepped out of teaching. My reasons at the time were borne out of a seeming dearth of teaching opportunities at the time, a frustration at battling 50 candidates for every post, and a fundamental, economical need to find work as soon as possible. I side-stepped into the world of Childcare, and swiftly found myself in a management role – far removed from the children I loved to work directly with.

However, through perseverance and belief in myself, I’ve managed to secure a teaching role once more. It took two years, countless applications (I stopped counting at 150), numerous interviews, and multiple knocks to my confidence and resolve. With every rejected application, I started to question if maybe the recruiters were right. But my heart told me differently.

In returning to teaching, I’ve come to realise the difference between a career and a vocation. And the importance, for me, of loving what I do and of looking forward to going to work each day. On a daily basis, people go back and forward to work and so many see it as a chore, a means to an end, and gain no satisfaction or joy from the place where they spend the majority of their waking hours. In many ways the past year of my life has been just that…the daily grind. I haven’t gained any real joy from what I’ve been doing, my stress levels have rocketed, and my mood has plummeted. I’ve found myself feeling unhappy, low and dissatisfied. I’ve felt that something has been missing from my working life. In my heart, I knew exactly what was missing.

In my final days at my last teaching job, I had the privilege of seeing myself through other people’s eyes. I saw how the children I taught viewed me, and their feelings about my leaving, through the cards and letters they wrote for me. I saw myself through the eyes of the parents of the children I had taught in the beautiful thank you notes I received, the bunches of flowers, and the tearful hugs goodbye. I saw myself through the eyes of my colleagues and friends in the school, in my leaving gift, in the kind words said at our farewell meeting, in the messages written in my goodbye card, and in the words of my boss telling me I would always have a job there for me if I wanted to return.

I saw value and results in all I had invested of myself in the time I had been here. The lost weekends of marking, the hours of lesson planning, the continual bouncing around of ideas to help make things up-to-date and interesting at all times for the kids, the weekly supermarket trips not only for my own groceries, but also for random bits and pieces to enhance the classroom, the emails and meetings with parents at any time there were concerns, the late night stressing over that one child who was worrying you that night, the delicate balance of the classroom with all it’s personalities, attending the saddest of events because it affected a child in your class, the conversations over dinner with colleagues about things that were happening as you needed to talk over issues and get another opinion, the long hours of rehearsals and preparation for the many school shows, the realisation that every single second was worth it.

This is a vocation and I am so excited for what happens next!

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