Sunday, 8 February 2015

What would you do if you weren't a teacher?

Yesterday's post about helping our learners find their element challenged me to consider this question.......

Hmmmmm......... this is tough. I LOVE being an educator. I love the learners, I love the creativity, I love the variety, I love the changing technologies, I love constantly learning and I love the relationships that we work to form with our learners, their parents and with other educators.

So, what would I do if I chose for some reason to give up my role in the classroom? I have been thinking a lot about finding one's element. Sir Ken Robinson describes your element as the place where your aptitudes or talents and your passions meet.

Image by D.Richards, inspired by Sir Ken Robinson's, The Element

What would "the element" be for you? I find this question very, very difficult to answer. The irony is that I can see exactly what my family members' elements might be......

My daughter is deeply passionate about computer science and animated movies. She has a real thirst for learning more about animation and story creation. She gets on and works through tutorials to teach herself Blender in her spare time. She watches Disney movies in a very academic way, passionately pointing out where both hand-drawn and computer-generated techniques have been merged. She even tracked down an animator from Dreamworks on my twitter account and quizzed her about the software she uses. I can see if she continues on this track, she'll end up working for an animation company and I wouldn't put it past her to start her own storyboarding and animation company.

Heroes/ Mentors are so important for following our dreams.  
My 8 year old son LOVES rugby the way I love dark chocolate! He is also very passionate and good at maths and spends a lot of time making books of statistics in the rugby season...things like who carried the ball the most during a game and who achieved the longest drop kick. Totally beyond me. He is also mad keen on geography and I think that his current dream job would be as a travelling statistician for the All Blacks- even better would be if he could also play First Five! That'd be perfect for him! He'd be in his element!

My husband is incredibly creative, a very talented artist with a deep passion for healthy city building (how ironic that we live in Christchurch, a city desperately in need of people just like him) Exactly six days ago, I think he found his element when he moved from working with engineers and people who look at the world in a very different way to working for a new firm of urban designers and landscape architects- people who care deeply about creating a vibrant and dynamic city with the well-being of its people at its very heart. It is truly awesome to see him having found his element. His enthusiasm for his work has increased exponentially and it's wonderful to see and be part of that.

So, what is my element? When I asked my family what they thought I'd do for a profession if I wasn't a teacher, my husband answered that he thought I'd either own my own florist shop (hmmm....not a morning person so that's probably NOT going to happen!) or open a children's bookshop, matching children to the perfect book. That sounds very cool- I would LOVE that! My son answered that he thought I'd be a person that helps people or perhaps a lawyer- he and I are quite skilled are arguing our points! My daughter answered that she thought I'd have a job helping people identify their ironic that I can't identify my own element but can clearly see possibilities for others.

So what would you do if you weren't an educator? Hmmm.....I don't have the answer; perhaps that's because I've already found my classroom.

Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear what you'd do if you weren't in education.


  1. Hey Bridget... love this... makes US think about our interests, passions, abilities, I think I would like to be an Interior Designer OR a Gallery owner! (with unlimited cash!)

  2. Hi Bridget
    You know this is a great question. I qualified as a teacher after a few years in the workforce. I was working for a diplomat researching papers, writing speeches and a lot general office work. And I absolutely loathed it!

    If I wasn't going to be a teacher my second choice was a midwife which might seem a bit out there but really when I think of the personality skill sets needed building trust, managing relationships and guiding others to do something they might not think they can do then actually there is a lot in common with teaching. Two things held me back. First a long qualification period (3 years as opposed to a year) and the bigger one I love my sleep.

    The other possible career would be baker but I am so not a morning person. I think if I was baking for a living it would sap all the joy out of my love for baking.

    What professions do you think have natural affinities with teaching?