Years ago now I trained as a teacher. Secondary maths and physics to be precise. I had interviews all over the country from Hastings in the south to Tain in the north and even one in Wales. At nearly all of those interviews I was one of at least four others and I never got the job. I spent a year trying to get a teaching job but it didn’t work out so I decided to try and improve my employability by getting an IT qualification. This was way back in 1997.
In 1997 I started as an adult trainee at the University of Glasgow doing and IT qualification on a placement with the Teaching and Learning Service. At then end of the placement I was offered a job there as an administrator. I’ve worked for the University of Glasgow ever since.
A few years ago the department I was working in was merged with two other groups to form the Learning and Teaching Centre and at the time I was very keen to get a promoted post. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t successful in getting a promoted post in the Learning and Teaching Centre and while I applied for several other posts around that time I was unsuccessful in all my applications.
At the time all these setbacks were disappointing to say the least but now I am so grateful for the way things have turned out.
I have two wonderful but challenging children. One was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum about 5 or 6 years ago now. The other is awaiting assessment. Both children are very intelligent and loving but both have challenges, particularly in social situations, too.
As a teacher I would not have been able to drop everything and leave to go to either of the schools my children attend during school hours and there have been weeks when I have had to go to both schools. If I was a more senior administrator I would not have the flexibility to just up and go and pay the time back later. Not only that but my workload would be much more stressful than it is now. I don’t want stress at work, I have enough in other areas of my life.
Life rarely turns out as you plan it. I am extremely lucky that my life has turned out the way it has. I have the time I need to support my wonderful children, time I wouldn’t have had as a teacher or a senior administrator.
But having had that educational training also means I have a better understanding of what the teachers who are helping my children learn have to go through. I have a better understanding of how to help my children learn. I have a better understanding of just how wonderfully different we all are and that education at its best can support the best of those differences and help individuals to understand how to adapt to their environments and adapt their environment to them.
Life is a very funny thing.