2018 was the year the stars aligned for me. I realised who my true friends were, I met my amazing partner, and I began my dream career. It wasn’t always my dream to be a teacher though, and as I regularly tell my students, it’s never too late to change your mind about what you want to do with your life. It is YOUR life, after all. If you’re starting your career at 30 maybe you’d like to hear my story, too.
I was 30 when I became a qualified teacher, and almost 31 when I landed my first teaching job. If you asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing when I was 31 never in a million years would I have said I’d be teaching design technology in a secondary school. I’d have laughed and said I didn’t even like kids. Well 21-year-old Laura, you were very wrong.
When I was 16 I wanted to be a nurse. I studied human biology and health and social care in sixth form before applying to university to study adult nursing. The night before the interview, after travelling to Middlesbrough, I changed my mind. What was I doing? I don’t like blood, and I can’t handle being sick nevermind other people’s sick, so I just didn’t go. I knew it wasn’t for me, but the problem was that I didn’t actually know what was for me. Although I’d always loved fashion, I never knew I could have a career in it. I didn’t take art for my GCSE’s and knew nothing about it. So when I was accepted onto a fashion diploma at my local college I couldn’t wait to get started.
I then went on to apply for and was accepted onto the Textiles and Fashion Design Management course at Heriot-Watt University. My eyes were opened to the fashion world and all of the career opportunities. I even started my blog while at university. After graduating I still couldn’t seem to find my ‘dream job’. To be honest, I’m not sure I even knew what my dream job was. I ended up working in New Look alongside the job in a fish & chip shop I’d had since I was 18. I just plodded along, knowing I wanted to do something, but no idea what.
In late 2015 my cousin planted the idea of teaching. I doubted it at first, I honestly couldn’t see myself teaching, but the idea grew on me and before long I was researching how to become a teacher. In March 2016 I was accepted onto the PGCE Design & Technology at Sunderland University with a fab bunch of prospective teachers. It was the hardest time of life – you never realise how much effort goes into teaching before you do it yourself! – but it was the beginning of my career, and the best choice I’ve ever made in my life.
After graduating in July 2017, it still took me until January 2018 to start my first teaching job. The interviews are tough, and if I’m honest I was starting to get disheartened after my fifth interview and getting that ‘sorry you didn’t get the job’ phone call. I felt like I must be a rubbish teacher if I wasn’t getting anywhere, as everyone else has secured their first job.
I’m a big believer that things happen when they’re supposed to though. That was certainly true for me. I’m glad I have the few months in between training and beginning my first teaching position as it made me realise how much I wanted it. I didn’t give up, which I could easily have done. I was so close to applying for any full-time job that came along. If I’d done that though I wouldn’t be in my dream job right now.
So the moral of the story? You don’t have to know what you want to do with your life at 14 when you choose your GCSE subjects, or even 18 when you’re deciding which universities you want to go to. Great if you do know exactly what career you want, but if you don’t that’s fine too. It took until I was 30 to start my career, and I’m OK with that.
Images by Alice Christina
Images by Alice Christina