Learning to Learn
With today marking the start of a new academic year for so many children around the country, it seemed only right that my first post on the newly-created GML website be about “learning”.
As these children are beginning their educational journey with excitement and trepidation, I find myself in a similar position, albeit 20+ years older. You see, I’m currently working towards achieving a 140-hour online TEFL qualification in the hope that I can one day move to Italy, teach English as a foreign language and marry a beautiful Italian woman with a lovely accent. I’ve yet to reach the part of the course detailing exactly how I go about finding this lady, but I remain optimistic.
I began this course 4 months ago, but due to the loss of my job, decline in my mental health and numerous other unforeseeable obstacles, I’ve only recently come back to it. As is to be expected with any “skill” you spend a long time under-utilising, I’m a little rusty. I’ve committed to completing one-module a day which, up until today, I was managing surprisingly well. I now find myself faced with my first assignment – designing a lesson plan. Cue anxiety.
The logical side of me knows that I can do this. I know that I can sit down for a few hours, brainstorm, scribble, and put something together that will be more than adequate. The issue is my immediate predisposition to overthinking, panic and self-doubt. I woke up today worried about it, and I’ve spent the past few hours doing research for an assignment that is literally only 350 words long.
I should mention that education has always been a strange area for me. I struggled in school due to bullying, and I was complacent in college. I left Uni early due to family issues and then I went straight into office jobs from there. I’ve never been what you’d call “studious”, but I’d always managed to coast by and get passing grades. Surprisingly though, my work ethic whilst in employment became extremely important to me, and I think it was because I sought a sense of purpose. I didn’t care about the work itself and since I didn’t care, I wasn’t happy.
I decided that the best way to “care” was to actually put the time and effort into it and build something that I was proud of. That way even if I wasn’t proud of the job, I was proud of my work. For a long time, this approach was effective.
Over the last 18 months, my priorities have shifted. I’m no longer content with the thought of “just getting it done”. I want to enjoy the work. I want to be passionate about it, and I want it to make a difference. I guess that’s why this first assignment scares me. God knows it’s not the difficulty or the scope of the assignment. It’s because it’s the first thing I sincerely want to get right. This is my way out, and my way in.
I care about this.
If I look back on my issues with education, I think I can pinpoint the reason it never really resonated with me – there was no passion behind it. The teachers showed up, taught us, and left. I’ve had three teachers in my life that have broken that mould, and these are the types of teachers I aspire to emulate.
I want to change somebody’s life. I want to change my life. It might not be today, maybe not even tomorrow, but it’ll happen. It’s just about letting passion win out over anxiety.
Once you have that freedom, you can do anything.