What I’m meant to be

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So is this what I’m meant to be? After all the other ideas have been explored, attempted and given up on, is this the one I was supposed to do all along? One of ‘those who cannot do’ and so I teach; yet how many of those ‘who can’ are able to teach what they know? How many of those doers have the ability to empathise, research, digest and then communicate in such a way that those who listen are able to understand and put into practice what they have learnt?

My dream job list: photographer, yoga teacher, bookseller, writer and media teacher.

At 14 I wanted to be a photographer but I never liked the idea of commercial or wedding assignments because I wanted to be an artist, so I doubt I would have earnt much. I’m not competitive either, which is a bit of a disadvantage in the creative arts. I’m also a bit old school and love being in an actual dark room, with chemical smells and images that appear as if by magic from a piece of paper, rather than sitting in front of a screen for hours on end, trying to create perfection. So, being a photographer was not meant to be.

For my second dream job, a yoga teacher, I trained for three years and taught on and off for several more, but the up and down nature of classes along with the costs of hiring a room, and the day job, which was also teaching, just got too much, and I gave it up. I haven’t missed it as much as I thought I would. I still practice every day, and it’s enjoyable to attend, rather than lead classes instead.

Dream job number three was ticked off after university, when I worked in a bookshop for just over four years. It was like having a whole library to myself, and then things got a bit more corporate. I worked for a well-known chain of bookshops in the UK, and the joy left as boredom set in and I knew I had to move on. So, I asked the universe for a job where I could use my brain, be creative and help people every day, and I ended up being an English language teacher.

11 years later, I’m still teaching international students, and even more happily doing so because I’m finally teaching media, which I studied at university. Having chosen Media and Fine Art, over the years I began to think I’d never get to use anything I’d learnt on my degree, so my current job is perfect. It took me a while to get here, and I didn’t even know that this is where I wanted to be, but it generally feels right. However, in recent months I had begun to question whether I wanted to keep teaching at all, and maybe re-train as a counsellor, another of the potential jobs I had thought about over the years. Yet, at the end of last term the response from my students made me realise that I couldn’t really do anything else. My vocation in life is to teach, and I hope inspire young people to go after their dreams, however many they might have.

So, there’s one job left, a writer; and there are times when I long to be able to stay home all day and write. Maybe that’s why it’s a dream job because I’m not sure if it would actually be good for me. I’d get lonely and depressed for a start. Despite the fact that I like my own company, I need to be around people sometimes. Plus being around others inspires me creatively, especially the young people I teach and their way of looking at the world, which is different from mine on many levels. If I spent every day alone, I just don’t think it would be healthy or stimulating for my writing. I’d still love to write, but I think it should be part-time.

So, a teacher is what I am meant to be. I’m not sure what my 14-year-old self would think of that. Maybe she would be disappointed I’m not a photographer, but then she couldn’t have predicted digital photography, which is all well and good, but not as exciting as seeing an image emerge in a darkened room that smells a bit funny. Happy days!

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