The last few months have been the busiest, most rewarding months of my life. I began my path to become a teacher, a “lifelong and life-wide commitment to learning”.
Yesterday, my module gathered for the final time in an educational environment. While we will still be taking classes all summer to finish our program, we will no longer be all together. Instead, we have begun a series of choices that will influence where this path leads us next. For me, that’ll be four courses in learning more about teaching practices in Language Arts, Math, Drama, as well as Curriculum Design.
Those aren’t really the choices I’m talking about though. More importantly – it’s time for everyone to start figuring out where they want to start their careers. And this is where my internal struggle has been occurring for the last few weeks.
Here’s something that some of you know and some of you don’t, so if you already know the logistics, go ahead and skip down a couple of paragraphs.
In December, I began working with a company in order to secure a position to teach full-time in England starting in September. For a very long time, it has been a dream of mine to live in the UK. When I was younger, I dabbled in the thought of au pairing, but never wanted to put school on hold because of it. I considered working Visas but didn’t want to waste a once in a lifetime, 2 year visa on 4 months working in a pub (a choice I’m very grateful for now, or else this opportunity wouldn’t even be an option for me!). One of my very best friends went over last month and secured a position, and ideally, we will live together, teaching during the week and traveling around on weekends and extended breaks. Pros? Experiencing life in another country, ease of travel throughout the UK and Europe, and the experience of my own classroom right away, rather than potentially working as a substitute for a year.
So here’s what’s going to happen. Next Saturday, I fly to London to participate in a week-long interview process/ professional development opportunity. I’ll get to meet several principals of primary schools over there (looking to teach ages 8-11), spend a day in a workshop about lesson planning, and visit one or two schools for further interviews. At the end of it all, if everything aligns and there’s a match between my interest and a principal’s, there will be a job offer.
Exciting, right? This possibility has carried me through much of my practicum. I would excitedly tell people of my plans, and spend weekends pouring over city maps and “things to do in…” articles about various points of interest in England.
Ask anyone what they think of the possibility of spending a year abroad, and they’ll tell you that you should do it, “what an amazing opportunity!” or, if they’re a bit older, “I would have loved to do something like that! Do it while you have no ties!”
But I’ve been very lucky in my life already. I’ve seen a whole lot of Europe and the UK. I’ve spent MONTHS combined traveling, experiencing different cultures, and exploring new territory. And when I came home last summer from my extended trip, I had a sense of completion that I can’t quite explain, but here’s what I wrote:
I am READY to go home, because there are other things I want more in life….I want a place to call my own. Somewhere I can decorate the walls with pictures of my travels, trinkets of my journeys, and photos of my best friends. I want to set down ROOTS. As I traveled, I witnessed many different kinds of relationships, and friendships, and was able to observe the traits I most want to find in my own life, and my own relationships… I want to have a big savings account, work hard for my money and set up my future… For SO long, I’ve regretted not going abroad during university. Not au pairing for a year when I was 20. Not spending MORE of my money on travel. I’ll tell anyone who listens how as soon as I get my teacher’s degree, I’m moving to England to work there instead…More frequently, though, my mind wandered somewhere else… it wandered to my future. A future that, before I left home, appeared foggy. One I was hesitant about, because I was so nervous I was making a wrong choice somewhere in my meticulous planning, but couldn’t see it… Now, I can see it taking shape. It’s a future full of change, the thing I hate the most, but am learning to embrace for the sake of my happiness (and that of those around me). It’s one where I continue to see the world, but in less of an “all or nothing” type of mindset.” (if you want to read more about this particular thought process of mine, click here)
So I just want everyone to know that I am really, really excited to fly to London next week and explore their school system, and what life might be like working over there as a teacher. But at the same time – there are so many benefits to not moving. If I get a job nearby, I can begin to build my seniority up. I may only be 25, but I do need to start thinking about these things, don’t I? I can become more familiar with the BC curriculum, something that is so important right now in the changing ways of the education system in the province.
I don’t have to leave my family or my friends behind. Sure, I love the idea of building new networks all around the world. But I love my own network here so much, too.
In England, I’d be able to take a lot of mini-trips if I could save up enough between rent and transportation and all other living expenses. In BC, I can save up to take longer trips, while saving up to place those roots in a city I’ve always imagined myself living in. There’s a whole world out there to explore beyond Europe, and while there are so many cities there that feel like home, I can’t call them favourites because I haven’t seen enough of the rest of the world to compare.
So here’s what I’m trying to say. If I end up staying here – after all my chatter of following my dreams, living it up in England with my friend, being able to take mini trips and immerse myself in one of my favourite countries – if I end up staying here, I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I don’t want you to see it as a missed opportunity, because I won’t. I’ll see it as following a different dream – one that lets me immerse myself in my ALL-TIME favourite country, as well as explore what other countries have to offer. It’s one that lets me build myself up in the career I’ve wanted since I was 4 years old, surrounded by the people I love (And really, how incredibly lucky am I that I’ve been able to create a reality from that 21 year long dream?)
I’ve recently changed my website title – did you notice? Kylie meets world. Yes, the idea is from one of my favourite TV shows ever… but its also true. I don’t know yet what’s going to happen. But no matter what I end up doing in the next year, five years, and beyond – I’m so excited to meet that path and continue down it. So be excited for me too, okay?