My experience of being a career changer
On my first day as a student teacher I popped my head around the study door, just before heading off to the school. “Do I look like a teacher?” I asked my husband who was working from home. “No” was his response, “you look like a senior female actuary!”
That wasn’t really what I wanted to hear at that precise moment. My previous career, while fulfilling, challenging and nicely high status, had been put to the side. I saw myself as a teacher, but the rest of the world didn’t yet.
That changed when I got into school a week later. The teachers welcomed me as one of their own. The pupils accepted me from the start. Many of the student teachers are just like me. Professionally experienced parents. Nervous about taking a big step. Wanting to give something back, to share their experience, to help.
People ask: “isn’t it hard training as a teacher, when you’re also a parent?” The raised eyebrow that stops my children mid-mischief thankfully has the same magic effect on a class. The knowledge of how to hold a gentle conversation with a worried child has been built over years, not just weeks. Oh, it helps.
Other people have asked why I left a career that is regularly at the top of job satisfaction tables. Being an actuary is fantastic. Why change?
My answer to that is harder to put into words. It really boils down to the fact that I grew to care passionately about helping individuals but wasn’t able to reach them. I’m still young(ish) and want to spend the next phase in my career doing something that will really make a difference, face to face.
And it’s wonderful. I had no real idea when I started just how much I would LIKE the children. Every class is full of quirky individuals, each with their own story, and as a teacher you are privileged to get to know them. It is a heady blend of parenthood and management skills, with a sense that you can make a real difference to someone’s life.
So... career changing? It’s scary, I’m not very good at it (yet!) and some little luxuries have been let go. But I’m fascinated, learning every second of every day and loving every minute!
By Rebecca Haestier
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