Update If you , or anyone you know are in this position, go to this new post
Today many colleagues who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to support language learning across the UK wake up to a day without a job. Uncertainty is an uncomfortable feeling, I know it well from when I left my former job in Secondary Education.
I am writing this short article however hopefully to re-assure you that this isn't it. It is a trite thing to say and read but it truly could be the best thing that has happened to you. I say this very guardedly because I am aware of just how much investment of themselves people have put in to their former positions, how much they cared about what they did and how much simply having that income means for the people they love and care for. To see it go is a difficult thing to stomach.
We are living in times of enormous change and the shift in how society works and functions as we adjust to this change brings with it the kind of jolts that hurt and disturb. I truly believe however that these kind of jolts can be harbingers of great leaps forward, personally and collectively.
They shake us out of our comfort zones, they spur us to re-think, they push us to imagine, to re-invent, to become creative again.
I believe every teacher should be both a public servant and a private entrepreneur. Who invented the notion that you are only allowed to be a public employee, only ever dependent upon the public purse to make your way and see your own hopes and dreams realised?
The truth is that 90% of teachers I know have within them something, some big or little idea, some passion, some area of expertise that often has the spark of 'genius' about it. The Teachmeets I go to often leave me feeling very humbled by the wonderfully creative people that share their ideas.
If they knew how to they could turn that idea into a real income that sits quite happily alongside their duties as a public servant. The sad thing is that very people know how to do this, and even fewer try.
When I was in full-time employment, the biggest thing that held me back from even thinking about leaving it was fear. I was actually yearning to have the challenge of trying to generate my own income but always chose instead to listen to those voices that whispered 'pension' 'what will others think' 'you will never be able to go back' 'you will lose your house' etc. etc ad nauseam!
Then health issues got in the way and kind of forced my hand. I got my jolt if you like. It was the best thing that happened to me. Now I am a part-time state employee, doing something I love for the schools I work in but am also building my own business pursuing my personal passions. Two jobs I love! I'm even envious of myself!
I can foresee a time when perhaps most teachers will work part-time, contracted in to deliver those parts of the curriculum that they are inspirational at delivering, free the rest of the time to enjoy an exhilirating business of their own that both feeds their familes and nourishes their soul.
Is that impossible? Idealistic? Unreasonable?
Well I for one hope it isn't otherwise I'm about to wake up from my own dream! Shame, it is just starting to get very, very exciting!
So to anyone feeling a bit down at the end of this week, please take heart. You have the most important resource you will ever have to be able to make a difference, the time to reconnect with what it is that you are passionate about. Find it, relive it and go and make some money from it!
Wishing everyone in this position a stonking future (sorry, my English deserted me!)
ps I might be looking for key colleagues to work with me! What's your big idea?
Update If you or anyone you know are in this position, have a look at this new post