#30daywritingchallenge: Day 4- What do you want to be?

I’ve changed the subject of today’s writing challenge. Or should I now say yesterday’s writing challenge as I completely forgot to post it last night. As well, I struggled to find images to illustrate my post, so I’m apologising for using these clipart images! The theme for this post was meant to be about me writing about someone who inspires me. I have so many people that have or who continue to inspire me in lots of ways. I guess I just had writer’s block over this. So I looked at the original notebook bought from Paperchase a couple of weeks back which gave me the inspiration to write these posts in the first place. Day Four in the Paperchase notebook (aimed at children, to be honest) asks you to write about what you want to be. I presume this means talking about what job you would like to do when you grow up.

I didn’t always want to be a teacher. When I was in primary school I wanted to be a nurse. I imagined myself in one of those blue dresses with a starched white apron and a hat looking at my watch and feeling people’s pulses. That was as far as my dreamings went because I’m really squeamish and faint at the sight of blood. My Mum and Dad went to our local blood donor session in our village and it was me who had to have the tea and biscuits as I nearly passed out. That was the end of my aspirations to be a nurse. My mum was worried about how I would cope giving birth with my squeamishness but I managed. I guess you just have to get on with it.. and close your eyes!

After the nurse phase I fancied being a fashion designer. I used to spend hours designing clothes and drawing them, getting inspiration from magazines at the time. This was the mid 1980s so it was all shoulder pads and puffball skirts. Thinking back to all those designs I drew years ago I cringe! Thankfully when I moved house I threw them out, I’d be so embarrassed and humiliated to see them now. My Art teacher at school was very encouraging but I never actually made any of my designs up. I probably would have looked a sight walking around town in them!

All that changed in June 1987 when everyone in our school year (Year 10) was sent on a weeks work experience. I chose to go back to my local infant school. There wasn’t anything remotely fashion design based near us. I liked children and often babysat for my mum and dad’s friend’s children. By the end of that week my mind was made up. I wanted to be an infant’s teacher (or KS1 as it is called nowadays) This seemed a much better option for me and more attainable. I went home and told my mum. My mum had returned to teaching full time and the National Curriculum was just about to be introduced. She said to me if I really wanted to work with children, why don’t I be a librarian instead? Of course I didn’t listen to my mum! Other family members were less than enthusiastic. I’ve mentioned in another post about my granddad who thought teaching infants wasn’t being a proper teacher. Three years later I went off to uni and got my teaching degree. I taught for three years full time until I got pregnant with my older child. Now twenty odd years later I’m in the same job but on a supply basis which suits me down to the ground.

If I was given the chance to go back to age 16 and retrain in something else, would I do it? Yes and no. I’m glad I became a teacher. It is scary to think that my very first pupils now probably are married with kids of their own (that does make me feel very old) and that I played a part in teaching them to read, write and to be numerate. I hope I also taught them other useful life skills as I did later on when I ran an after school cookery club. But if I was my children’s age now I would definitely not go into the teaching profession. When my mum first returned to teaching she did have a little time to herself on the evenings and weekends. But gradually as each successive government put more and more crap into the pot, I saw my mum spend more and more time working. She used to fall asleep with her laptop on her knee on the sofa most nights. Every time I phoned her on a Sunday she would be planning with The Archers on the Radio in the background. More recently this has happened to me when I’ve been working in a long term supply post. I had to stop meeting up with friends because I couldn’t even spare an hour of my time. Doing supply teaching though gives me the best of both worlds. I can be at home if I need to be and I can teach children which is what I set out to do over 30 years ago. Thankfully my own two children are following their dreams. My daughter is training to be a prosthetic make up artist and my son wants to be a film director.

Being in my mid forties now I have another twenty years to go before retirement. I don’t see myself teaching for another twenty years. I would love to turn my passion for baking into a business. I have baked cakes as a sideline before but when I ended up teaching more (more money involved) I put the cake decorating on hold. I get friends saying go for it but there are obstacles in my way. I need a bigger kitchen so that my domestic space isn’t taken over by the cake decorating. Mr SmartCookieSam doesn’t like it when he comes home from work and I’m still finishing off a cake and it’s stopping him from making a cup of tea. Or from me cooking his dinner. I need business premises. But to do that you need money. And to get money you have to work, so that’s why I continue to teach.

But for me the most important job that I do is something I always wanted to be and that’s to be a mother. I honestly thought I wouldn’t be lucky enough to have children and that someone would actually want to be with me. Sadly this is an ambition for some that never gets realised and I have seen people who have been denied the opportunity to become a mum who would have been fab mums. I think life can be so cruel. I think myself lucky every day that I have two healthy children that I am proud of. Being called Mum is even better than being called Sam or Mrs Smith. Of course there are times when I think I’ve totally mucked up. I’ve said and done the wrong things. Kids are kids when all is said and done. After all parenthood doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Oh how I wish there had been one, especially designed for teenagers! In an ideal world I would have loved to have a houseful of kids. Maybe not twenty like the Radford family but perhaps four or five. But practicality won there!

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