I remember my first day in the classroom sixteen years ago. I knew I’d found something I loved to do. I could make a difference to little lives, I could help them understand where my own teachers had failed. From day one, I threw myself into the profession and loved it.
As the years went by, I met my husband (also a teacher) and it became a way of life – working 18 or 20 hours a day but having our holidays together. Then I became a mum – with the most traumatic pregnancy I could have ever imagined. I knew life changed then and I wasn’t sure how I’d ever balance the two parts of my life, especially when I became a single mum 15 months later. But for seven years, I’ve continued, failing to find any balance – either home life suffers or the quality of my teaching suffers.
I love teaching and being with the children, BUT my own child needs to see me for more than an hour a day and needs to not get rushed off to bed each night because I ‘have to work’.
My parents, although hugely supportive both practically and emotionally, say their heart sinks when I tell them I can’t do (enter anything that isn’t school work here) because I ‘have to work’.
My health has suffered as a result of pushing myself so hard for so long and I was diagnosed with life changing conditions about 5 years ago. I’ve tried to battle through, but when your life feels like you’re wading through treacle, something has to change.
18 months ago, I found Tropic – a direct sales company selling natural cosmetics and skincare. The aim was that I would earn enough to work part time as a teacher, but what I’ve learnt is that there is a life outside teaching – a life where you are appreciated for just trying your hardest, a life where people value what you’ve achieved and celebrate this with you.
About six weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit Finland on an all expenses paid trip with 90 other Ambassadors from the company. I came home a changed person. I finally realised that life outside the classroom and life without the restraints of data, paperwork and unrealistic Government aims would probably be the making of me.
And so, in just two days time, I leave the classroom as a Teacher – the job I’ve loved for almost half of my life and I become a TA. I’ll go from working every hour on the clock, to working just 25 hours a week. I’ll be able to take my daughter to the park, lie with her when she can’t get to sleep and generally be a better mum. I’ll also have time to spend on my beloved Tropic business – the real life changer in all of this!
I’m going to miss teaching, but I’m really, really looking forward to finding out who I am again, for the first time in a very long time.