Who is this Jackcabnory......

London Cab Driver, part-time Singer, micro/macro blogger, runner and primary school teacher in the making.....

Monday, 11 September 2017

Teaching. The final frontier.

If you know me, then you'll know I made a decision about 6 years ago to change careers.  A decision that has occupied almost every waking hour since.

Back then, my work life was dull. Repetitive. Unfulfilling.

What was I going to do then?  Indulge me with a bit of backstory.

Call it serendipity, but I met Drew Buddie at a Twitter conference (yeah, I know) and this led firstly, to a friendship that has underpinned the journey - X Factor eat your heart out - I've undertaken. Drew is enthusiastic, about many things, but first and foremost it's education that drives him.

We bonded over a discussion about how the knowledge of London is such a comprehensive feat of learning, but in his eyes not recognised and understood by the educational fraternity.  I accepted his subsequent invitation to speak at a TedX event, following the regular BETT show in London.  I was a nervous speaker, but many of those present were kind enough to let me know how interesting they had found what I had to say.

At this point dear reader, I still hadn't decided that I wanted to pursue pedagogy.

But as I've already said, I lacked job satisfaction. They say if you enjoy work, then it's not work. And that was what I set out to do.

Then it hit me. Teach. Take the baton of enjoyment that the knowledge had given me, and pass it on.

My simple logic was this. I need to work for at least another twenty five years. I knew if there was no end in sight, I ran the risk of work based stereotype. Cab driver hates his job, becomes increasingly cynical, reads the Sun and has a penchant for outbursts on what is wrong with the world.

Great. I had a plan. Resit English, Maths and Science GCSEs. (Having ingloriously failed them in the eighties - my lame excuse always that it was because we were the first year to sit them as they replaced O levels - I'm sure progress 8 contemporaries may do the same!).  Then a degree, I had considered a Bachelor of Education, but settled on English Literature and Language.

So beginning in 2012 with my English GCSE, I began a study period that would last for six and a half years - almost double the time in which I studied to become a cabby. Now I have to stress that I HAVE enjoyed it. Stretched hippocampus not withstanding, I really have.

Let's try and contextualise this transition from cabbing to teaching, it may seem unusual, perhaps even a little misguided - but I'm not the first to go outside the box and do something against type - outside the box - look at Lucy Kellaway, FT columnist now Maths teacher.  You can read about her story here, here and even hear her here (from 37.40). She's even set up a charity to encourage people wishing to do the same.

So, the plan was simple. I'd study, I'd volunteer at my children's old primary school - to get some cockpit hours in the bag, and importantly be exposed to a little of what was to come. Not be blasé about the task in hand, get my hands dirty, I think that's enough metaphors.
And lastly, I'd continue to grow a network of likeminded folk on twitter with whom I would engage with virtually and physically at regular TeachMeet events .  There are, excuse the cliché, too many to name but trust me their value is inestimable.

All of this has happened. I am now the proud owner of BA Honours English Literature and Language Degree 2.2.

However, it's September 2017 and I am not starting my PCGE.

Austerity knows no bounds, and Educational budgets have been reduced across the country.  The route that I had planned, via  a School Direct or SCITT salaried training position are like gold dust. Schools are having to consider the level of hand holding that is necessary with applicants. Unfortunately their view seems to be that I would need more than some, or rather that the school would be pleased to have me train in a non salaried position, thereby not being a budgetary cost.

I of course understand their plight. But to quote Eddie Cochrane - "Mom and poppa told me "son you gotta make some money."  There seems to be a disconnect between a profession that is clearly struggling to retain staff and those that are trying desperately to be heard knocking on the front door.


This coupled with official forecasts by the Department for Education that by 2025 a further 750,000 places will be needed, suggests that something has to give.  

I want to teach. I've probably never felt so destined for anything in my life like this. It's vocational. I am determined to get there, and again I'd like to voice my appreciation for my family, friends and passengers who have showed their support over the years.

And finally, if you read this and think you can help me achieve it, I'm all ears.

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