Follow your dreams

Photo: Dyaa Eldin on Unsplash

by Astrid Emma @myvisioninwords

Before I start, this is not “a feel sorry for me” plea, but more of a reflection on how I have come to believe that “everything happens for a reason” and how being #10% braver allowed me to challenge the status quo.

I always wanted to be a teacher, like I mean REALLY wanted to be a teacher. I was the girl who sat all of her teddies and dolls in rows and created a school register for them; my younger siblings were never free from learning and no child growing up on our cul-de-sac was safe during the school holidays as attending my makeshift classroom was non-negotiable.

So, why then do I now work part-time in an office, in the travel and tourism industry?

The answer is because I was far from confident enough to get through a university interview for the B.Ed courses; I tried and failed all three attempts. I was just too introverted. Then the degree that I did start was in a university that just wasn’t right for me and then you could say that adult life just sort of got in the way. Being a classroom teacher wasn’t to be…


Okay, so why haven’t I gone back into teaching as an adult? I hear you ask. Well, that is mainly due to a few hurdles that are a bit higher than I feel brave enough to jump thus far; hurdles that would require me to be 25% braver, but the main one being that my genetic eye condition deteriorated in my late twenties and I am now registered blind as a result. That is not to say that being blind renders someone incapable of teaching because I am an advocate for inclusion. Nevertheless, it has, for the time being, rendered me unable to take on the challenge of getting a degree.

Whilst I have likely put the dream of ever becoming a classroom teacher to bed, the one thing that I haven’t done is turn my back on education; I live and breathe it in all its frustrating paradigms.

I do this by being a parent, an auntie, a step-mother to a teacher, a friend of teaching professionals, a volunteer in a school, an avid Edu-Twitter follower and, equally as rewarding, I am a Chair of Governors. Before I became a parent governor, over 7 years ago, I questioned my eligibility. On seeing the advert I knew that I wanted to be a governor, in order to make a difference, but I wasn’t governor material surely? I remember asking the then Deputy Head, “Can I be a school governor even though I am not a solicitor or a doctor?” Luckily for me the answer was, “Of course you can.”

I honestly believed that you could only be a governor if you had a good job that earned you lots of money. When I look back, I was worlds apart from the rest of the Governors that I joined, but I am so glad that I asked. The fact that I put my passion for education first and was 10% braver in order to even check if I was eligible was a turning point for me…

I became the CoG just over a year ago and despite the obvious demands of the role, I absolutely love it! I still smile when I attend forums; there aren’t many 37 year old female CoGs in my area.

“You are passionate aren’t you?” My friend said to me just the other day as she saw my whole demeanor change as I checked my phone at work; it was from the Head and read…
“Ofsted just rang!” Suddenly, all that our strong board and dedicated leaders and staff had been working towards had become a bittersweet reality; I felt sick! This was their time to shine…
Nobody has taught me to be passionate; it just sort of happened. It is that passion that continues to allow me to care so deeply about our phenomenal school and the staff and children. Even in and amongst the challenging conversations and difficult decisions, of which there are many, I never lose that sense of pride of being part of such a dynamic and driven team. I may not be a teacher in a classroom, but I like to think that I teach my own children and any children that I come into contact with, to follow their dreams; embrace their differences and believe that everything happens for a reason.

My passion and drive for schools to be places where every child, despite their needs or background, matters and is nurtured in order to thrive, is the one and only lesson that I will continue to “teach” until everybody who wants to “learn” has done so. Here are the quotes that I believe we should all lead by…

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. Ghandi
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Mandela
“The best way to make children good is to make them happy”. Oscar Wilde.

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