I had no idea when I began this journey that this kind of article would feature on this blog.
However I feel I have to share this as it has benefitted me greatly.
A week ago I posted this article in response to the fact that many excellent colleagues were having to face big changes in their professional, personal and financial lives because of the public sector cuts.
Whatever we feel about the political rights and wrongs of all of this, the fact is that many people involved directly or indirectly in supporting education now find themselves scratching around for direction. If you are anywhere near my age then this becomes very problematic.
I said in that article that I could foresee a time where many educational professionals would no longer be fully state employed. Part-time work could become the norm, working 2 or 3 days a week employed by the State and the rest of the time devoted to one's own business.
Like it or not, the movement of the times is towards individuals carving out a particular 'niche' for themselves, based around their special passion and talent, becoming mini-entrepreneurs and connecting with others who compliment their skills professionally to deliver a product or who need their services. (If you want to read an excellent book about this societal shift brought about largely through the rapid expansion of the internet and social media, read 'Become a Key person of Influence' by Daniel Priestley - sneak a preview on this video)
One gift that teachers hone every day is the gift of the gab. Have you ever considered learning how to make an income from public speaking?
Last year at this time, I attended a 1 day seminar in London put on by an Australian lady, Joanna Martin. Her particular 'niche' is that she coaches people in any walk of life, not just in teaching, how to turn speaking in public on something about which they are passionate into a significant business.
I went to this as a very sceptical Brit, cynical faculties overloaded to the max and pretty resistant to the intitial flavour of the event. I knew however that I wanted to get up in front of people and share my passion for music and learning languages. So. I persisted.
Something happened on that day. I found myself in a room with complete strangers. At one point we had to share what it was that we wanted to get out of that day to someone else in 1 minute. Then we had to listen to what they said.
I found myself sharing my passionate belief that music and singing have the power to transform the way children learn languages. I had never expressed this to anyone in this way before. In one minute I had told a complete stranger what I was going to be doing probably for the rest of my working life.
I then listened to her explaining what she wanted to do. It was very powerful. You imagine being in a room where everyone is sharing their most heartfelt desire all concentrated into a one minute speech!
Since then 1 minute has become 2 minutes and then 7 minutes at various Teach Meets around the country.Those have directly led to being asked to run 1 hour workshops. Whole day events are within my sights, and all from a 1 minute speech!
Do you realise that if you want to find out what it feels to be a public speaker, education is the only profession that provides you with a free forum to get up and share your heart with wonderfully supportive colleagues and make a complete fool of yourself, yet improve your skills! Begin your speaking journey at a local Teachmeet. Here is a link to a google map of many, many excellent colleagues who have taken part in these already.
Amazing! We are so lucky to be in a professional environment like this which is collegiate and supportive! Take advantage of it!
One thing I know from those Teach Meet events, we are an incredibly creative profession. And everyone has their own spark of genius that they share at those events. You have something that others want to know about.
It might not even be part of teaching, it might be in another area of your life where you happily spend hours pursuing a particular interest.
Back to Joanna Martin. The reason I mention her is that she is speaking again in London on these dates, Friday May 6th (I'm going to this one) Saturday May 7th and Friday May 13th. The cost for the whole day is dirt cheap for this kind of quality training. Joanna has her own products to sell, training packages and DVDs etc but this really is a fun, interesting and no pressure event. You can take or leave anything that she offers. she doesn't ram anything down your throat.
What you will get however is a much clearer idea of what it is you could do : a much clearer idea of how to structure a successful business if you have never done this kind of thing before : the confidence to seriously think about putting something into practise that you might always have thought about but never quite believed you could do it and earn a significant amount of money from it.
If you would like to know more, follow this link here.
So if you, or anyone you know has been thrown up in the air by the public sector cuts and is unsure how the pieces of your life are going to land and fall into some sort of shape, I highly recommend this 1 day event. It certainly helped me to shape my personal, professional and financial future.
Here's the link again. Please pass it on to anyone else you know, not only educators, that you think might benefit.