Monday, 20 June 2011

Number Twenty Nine: The Forks

My reflection in a fork- taking this photo was the biggest challenge of my day!

This whole ‘stop you in your tracks’ ‘life altering’ shocker that is the cancer bombshell has certainly prompted me to reflect a lot. About the decisions I have made in my life so far and about how I wish to live in the future. I’ve looked back on how I got here- the decisions I made (good and bad) the directions I took at various forks in the road. I can not express enough how happy I am to be exactly where I am today- I feel pretty lucky to be in this position- I have the love of my life husband, a job I enjoy and two of the cutest little boys ever! It’s not many people who get to have all the 'big' things go their way and so I often wonder how I got here.

I suppose we should start with how I found myself in the world of teaching…
When I wasn’t playing cards in the common room or being one of the founding members of ‘Anti-geographers united’ in sixth form I was reading that big book of jobs- Opportunities I think it was called. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and so looked at my options. Each free period saw me set my sights on a different career but none stuck. I ended up applying for speech therapy degrees because my mum quite liked the idea! I guess this, added to a distinct lack of interest in 2 of my 3 A levels is what then found me a couple of months later going through clearing. There I sat with my UCAS book phoning up endless universities inquiring about completely random courses- actually anything that sounded a bit arty (but not just art because how was that going to get me a job ever?) no, an art degree would not have been supported by my parents at all! Art with education caught my eye- I phoned up about a course in Lancaster but it was full- they offered me geography with education in Ambleside instead. Hummm I hated geography at A’ level and got a D. I’d loved everything art forever and got an A. I’d been on the phone for hours and knew my mum and dad would like a weekend trip up to The Lakes so I agreed to an interview. And the rest as they say is history! I can honestly say that I’d not exactly given ‘becoming a teacher’ a second thought! On my first day, meeting my housemates it did begin to dawn on me as Grainne showed my her ‘teaching practice shoes’ and Leanne talked about how she had a teacher when she was 7 who was fantastic and so she’d wanted to be a teacher ever since. Hummm. Teaching practice shoes? Teaching practice full stop? Hadn’t really considered that! Why did I want to be a teacher? Did I want to be a teacher? Hadn’t really thought about that.
So the first big thing that I got right in my life I can take no credit for what so ever! I fell into it! It chose me? I’m not sure but I think it’s more fun than most people’s jobs!

Once qualified, the next big decision was where to work… I went through the Milton Keynes NQT pool and was accepted- just had to wait for a school to phone once the details were released a few weeks later… I hoped one would! Well… on the day the details were released I came home to 14 answer phone messages from headteachers inviting me to look around their schools- 14! I kid you not! Wow! I made 5 appointments in one day to look round the ones I liked the sound of best. It was a completely manic day… school one- OK ish. School two- Loved it. School three- I pulled up, met the head teacher at the door and explained politely that I didn’t have time to look round anymore as I had two more appointments to get to that I liked the sound of more than her school (I cringe just remembering that I did this!) School four- not great and School five- loved it! I clearly remember being sat at my kitchen table asking my mum how I would chose between the two schools I had equally loved. ‘Make a choice and then make it work for you’ was my mum’s advice. I look back on that decision with great fear right now- what if I had chosen any of the other four schools? (Or the other 13 that had originally left messages?) Because as it turned out- this was not just my first teaching job- Oh no- this would be the place I found my perfect, love of my life husband (not to mention two of the very best friends any girl could ask for and now godmothers to my sons!) How different my life would now be if I had made a different decision at that one fork in the road! Scary!

The next huge decision was about having children and more importantly when to have them. Number one son came along and once he got to about 18 months people started asking about number two. Let’s do it! OK! Err actually I’m loving the life of part time teacher… let’s hold off on number two. … Oops too late number two is on its way. Oh well that’s exciting news! And maybe that was fate… I look down at my ‘almost not a baby anymore’ and shiver at the thought of waiting… waiting could have meant the beast breast was discovered before he was with us and that could also mean that he would never be! It’s no secret that cancer treatments all affect fertility so thank God number two made it in time!

I have of course made bad decisions, things I am not proud of and am very sorry for but it’s been said that everything you do leads to where you are today and I’m very happy here so I can’t say I have regrets. I just hope that the big things (my health aside! Ha!) continue to go my way… fingers crossed!


  1. Loved this post Erin! Wow! How different things could have been! I'm so glad that you feel you are exactly where you want to be, you deserve it honey! Lotsa love Chez. xx

  2. I'm one of the always wanted to be a teacher gang, but ironically having qualified in 1978, it took me until 2005 to actually get to do it! But the living I did inbetween means I have lots of life experience.

  3. You have taken me back to my decision-making about a career. I was always going to be a teacher because I liked (& still do) to be in charge. Being the mum of a one year old at the time I didn't have a choice of where but I pretty lucky with my TP schools. Would I change that decision? No! Definitely not!

  4. Hi Erin, grainne here, what a saddo I was back then, although I do love teaching still. I see your outlook on life hasn't changed, always positive. I actually found a picture, the other day, that you drew for me for my bedroom door! Keep up the great work :-)

  5. Erin

    I lived in the Green at Ambleside. You will have walked past the house of my childhood every time you went up Nook Lane. My gran was awarded an honorary doctorate for her services to Charlotte Mason College. She, my mum and my step-sister all did their teacher training there.

    Small world, eh!

  6. Grainne- more like a quick witted queen of sarcasm than a saddo if I remember rightly! Hope you're well Mrs! Xx

    Juliet- small world indeed! Loving the muddy lessons! Xx