Passports oot…..


Today is a bit momentous. I am using my new passport for the first time. It’s a work trip and I am off to interview. 10 years ago I was heading off on the biggest professional adventure of my life.
After 5 years in teaching I had decided to hand I my notice and pursue another of my things on my bucket list. I was off to do VSO.
My letter of resignation came back to me from the woman I still credit with getting me to where I am professionally. She told me she would not accept it and had asked for leave of absence for me instead and I was given it. One year to go and follow my dream.
It would take me a year to only scratch the surface of what went on during my year with VSO but I have decided that it would be a brilliant exercise for me to reflect on and look at how it has shaped not only my professional but personal journey as well. That is my summer CPD
Self evaluation : my take on it.
The passport was the start of my adventures. I spent 3 weeks volunteering in Ecuador ( extra week of unpaid leave given ) and the support of the school was amazing. They were keen to build on my experience and asked me to use it to channel awareness on poverty in developing countries with the students. This was after they had also given me an extra week the previous summer to finish a placement with a homeless project in Manchester.
I know this is probably very rare but I had the luck of some seriously blue sky thinking senior managers who were keen to encourage my development as a teacher but as a person too.
I used the excuse that staff would be glad of the peace from my disco of a class but each and every one of those experiences shaped me to into the person and educationalist that I am. For better or worse.
Easter in Ecuador, summer in New York ( the start of the leaving parties) and then off I went…..
People thought I was mad, I questioned it a lot too. I was leaving a lot behind… job, my family, my friends, my relationship. It was an itch I could not scratch however and I knew that I had to give it a go……
The summer had been full of highs and lows: losing my grandad, numerous farewell parties, the realisation that I was going halfway across the world and the nagging doubt that perhaps I was off my head.
Professionally I had closed a wee chapter having taught my weans for 4 years and I was not leaving till they were ready to.
Making a seismic move both in terms of geography and practice may seem extreme but then I have never been known for doing things in half measures.
It was single-handedly the best professional development I have ever done. Albeit in China, living on a shoestring, ending up with dysentery ( or thereabouts) And discovered it wasn’t quite like the film hero. ( anyone for a cultural stereotype?)
Trying to get shoes was hard……….


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