Tell your tales, set yours sails, you’re on your way
In January 2001, I left my job as a projectionist at the Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh and set off for the bright lights of Bottrop, Germany to work as a British Council lingua-assistant in a Grundschule (primary school).
I played this song by The Guthries on repeat before I left.
It was a transformative experience. Overnight I became the exotic teaching legend of Herr McLauchlan (not my own definition). As soon as I returned I started the Primary PGCE at Moray House, Edinburgh and the rest, as they say… I have loved my job from day one, and in all honesty have never looked back. Although, I still miss the lazy endless days of watching and discussing films from dawn until dusk.
But another turn is further up the road.
I recently got married and I am moving to China.
It’s a mental sentence to absorb but I do like saying it out loud. People either guffaw out loud thinking I’m joking or just stare awkwardly in disbelief. My partner is a journalist with the BBC and has got a new job in Beijing. In March of this year the family unit is moving out to start a new chapter. I’m giving up my job and becoming a house dad for a bit. I’ll write about the marriage bit another time.
Truth is, I can’t wait to leave. I’ve been at my current school and house on and off for nearly 10 years. It’s the longest I’ve lived or worked anywhere. The past decade was broken up with a year spent travelling the globe, an 18 month stint as a Development Officer with Education Scotland and a year as a Principal Teacher. I’ve wanted a change of school for a long time, purely because this is a good thing and also because my usual period of living and working anywhere has never been longer than 4 years. Since last June I have applied for lots of promoted posts and had 8 interviews. I was unsuccessful at each and every one of them. I’ve had glowing feedback and been told often I was a close second, which is flattering and soberingly uncomfortable in equal measure, a bit like being told you are only good enough as boyfriend material! It’s a funny old process / ordeal to put yourself through. You feel like part performing monkey (I have amazing answers on the NIF), part fraud (all this stuff I said I did, how good was it really!?), part charlatan (whenever I wear a suit to school, fellow staff assume I am either at a funeral or a job interview) and part reject (here we go again, this is the one, chin up, big smiles, think of your family, this is your day…) More about this another time.
I don’t believe in fate and I hate it when people try to comfort disappointment by saying something was just never meant to be. But I do believe in opportunity and just going for things when they come along. I’ve always been thankful to be in a profession that is flexible and adaptable. I still love being a teacher more than anything else I know, other than being a dad. I’m genuinely not sure what is different about being a husband yet. Too soon to tell on that front! But I can’t wait for a fresh challenge. And I can’t wait to leave.
Days are getting longer
The season’s almost here
It’s the season to leave
but there’s no time to grieve.
I’ve not set any grand goals for blog posts, book reading, album playing for the year ahead. Life is too unpredictable and I’m not sure we genuinely need to set ourselves goals all the time. I’ve been looking backwards (sometimes in anger) for too long recently, cursing my luck and my steadfast inability to change my course. Now I’ve got a reason to leave I feel confident and self assured again. It’s not about the credentials or the salary. It’s all about the challenge and the next steps. It’s a magical world if we want it to be. Let’s go exploring.