Mamma, learner, language lover, thought provoker, disrupter and questioner.
Former secondary school teacher.
As I approached the end of university and companies from advertising to legal to banking came to pitch to undergraduates, I distinctly remember questioning this ‘given’, this apparently obvious next step which it seemed we were being encouraged to take. But in choosing not to take this path, I wasn’t quite sure what other paths were open. Until then, the route had been clear: you went to school and through the years your workload increased. You jumped through the hoops you were supposed to jump through and, hopefully – or in my case, at least – questioned, at quite a few turns, given norms and burned with passion for what you believed in.
At that point, the burning passion, blind confidence and independence, took me to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and then to the West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territories, there I volunteered with international and local NGOs to promote a civil society record of the atrocities committed in the OPT.
Returning to England, I wanted to give children the confidence to follow their passions, and went into teaching. Back in my natural environment – schools – I loved the dynamic and energy of teaching; I loved how passion can be gloriously infectious, I loved building rapports with my classes, I loved the possibility and potential of the whole school and the individual classes.
Having children – three of them, so I’ve been busy – has added another perspective to my thoughts on education. Watching my children within a primary school curriculum kindled my interest in how young children learn within and outside school, and whether we are asking children to do too much, too soon.
So, as a family, we took A Bold Step. We decided just to upsticks, and move to Italy. To step out of expectations, challenge accepted normalities, live a little differently and find out some more about ourselves. In short, we stepped back from our lives. As mamma with the fig tree, three children and a long distance commuting husband, I had both oodles of time to reflect, think, sit with my ideas and simultaneously absolutely no time at all.
Now, back in England, the fiery passion for the best education, not just for my children, but for others is still strong, whether this is through teaching passionately within school or providing interesting alternatives outside of it.