Tuesday, 24 August 2010

When you were young...

I got tagged again by Garry from Blog Up North - in its new home, if you haven't already noticed - to talk about what I wanted to be when I was young and why.

The story starts with a bit of background. My older sister taught me to read when I was 2. Yes, you read that right. Two. Two?! I can hardly believe that myself but that's what happened. I might have been nearer 3 but I was definitely still 2. By the time I started school at 4, words were not a mystery to me.

Now, I am old and when I started school, the ITA was all the rage in teaching children to read. You had to learn the special symbols and read all the books before you went on to the proper books, which were for some reason were called TO. (No, I've no idea why either). I guess it was supposed to take a while to get through them; maybe a term or two. I read them all in about two weeks and was off away on the "big" ones. By the time I was 6, I had a reading age of 10.

I loved school, so you can probably guess where this is going. I wanted to be a teacher. I loved showing people how to do things, and I seemed to have a knack for working in a logical progression that was easily understood. As I got older, I remember one of the teachers at school telling me I'd make a good teacher. I coached my younger sister through her CSE Maths when she was struggling with it - a fairly frustrating experience because I lost count of the times we had the conversation about why a minus times a minus was a plus and the conversation ending with me saying "It just is!".

However, by the time I reached that stage, the enthusiasm for teaching had already waned. I don't know what it was - I think it was in part my desire to move away from school and do something completely different in a different environment. I did sciences, languages and maths at school and wanted to be a scientist (a biochemist) although the language teachers thought I'd make a good linguist as well. To appease them all, I did French as well as Biology, Chemistry and Maths at A level and applied to do a science degree. OK, actually, it was an Agricultural Science degree but it was a flexible course where you made certain choices at particular stages so you could change if you wanted to.

In the time I was there, I learned enough about Biochemistry to sate my curiosity for it and my interest in it waned. I didn't want to do research stuck inside a lab all day long although my final year dissertation was actually a comparative feeding trial of ducks and chicks, which largely had me collecting chicken and duck poo, grinding it up and analysing it for various nutrients. Very few options were open to me specific to my degree as the traditional route of working for what was then MAFF was not available as I graduated so I went and got a job in Accountancy - sounds mad I know, but I was good at Maths, remember?

That lasted six months. I liked doing the accounting bit - it was the audit that I found mind-numbingly boring. I moved to a different part of the country and got myself a job in IT, working on a helpdesk. IT was still a pretty new industry then and the company I went to work for wanted people who understood accounts to help their users of their systems. I was apparently perfect and they trained me in the IT side of things.

Working in IT support allowed me an outlet to teach and explain things again. I have also trained people how to use various applications over the years and that is very similar to teaching So, in a way, I ended up teaching but in a different place.

Since I left my IT job in 2009, I have completed a course which qualifies me to teach to adults and I have looked at getting work in that field. However, with things as they are, teaching hours are very hard to come by and so far, I haven't managed to get casual teaching work. I loved the course, although it was a little hard going at times, and I really enjoyed preparing and doing the teaching assessments that I had to complete to pass the course. I've used my teaching skills in my volunteering as I often have to teach new treasurers how to do their role and use accounting software - which takes me back to my first IT job! I keep going full circle, it seems.

Garry also posed another question on his blog: When you look into the mirror, do you see the person you hoped you’d become? Or something better? Or worse? My answer to that is I am now a mother and I thought I would probably never become one. That, to me at the moment, is the most important thing I've achieved. So, yes, it has turned out for the good - even if it is an unpaid job. It is a job I relish in and I teach my children something new every day. I've enjoyed all the jobs I've had, with one notable exception which didn't last long and I got out of for the good of my health. So I guess I've been lucky and that it demonstrates I took the right path.

I'd now like to tag some more people to continue Garry's meme....

They are:

Julia at What Will Julia Do Next? (and do check out her new blog The Head's Office)
Joanna at At Home with Mrs M
Sally at Who's the Mummy?
and Dawnie at Dawnie Brown

but do feel free to join in by commenting below, or even writing a post of your own and linking to it in the comments. Whether we achieved our childhood dreams or not, we are where we are, probably with good reason. And if you're still not where you want to be, we all need to remember there is still time to get there and it's never too late to dream. Cod psychology over, that is my thought for the day.


  1. Thank you so much for the link & the promotion of the new blog!! I'll get thinking a.s.a.p. Not sure about mirror looking though!

  2. Hi Kate, thanks for taking part. You obviously have a nurturing instinct, wanting to help people by spreading knowledge. I think that is a common thread through what you've written. Great piece. Many thanks. :)

  3. Multi-talented! But we knew that already, great post as always.

  4. Aw, thanks Garry. I guess you're right - that shows itself through cooking too - I like to do it to please and care for others. I'm glad you like it and hope it's done justice to your great meme. Ta yerself. ;)

  5. No worries at all, Julia. Thought you might be up for it. I'm sure you can cope with looking in the mirror for a little tiny bit. :)

  6. Awww, thanks Nathalie. You're not so bad yourself at the multiple talents. I knows it from old. :)

  7. Wow! I think it's great that you learned to read at two, it definitely seems to have been a catalyst to your love of learning new things! Also, being a mom is a tough thankless job but very rewarding! Great post!

  8. Thanks for sharing this and your lovely comments on my blog, but now I feel very intimated. Maths and science. Wow! They were never my strong suit. Reading came very early to me as well. Not sure I was two, but I definitely know that I was reading by the time I started primary school. It certainly sounds like your career was a perfect fit for you and best of luck with your future endeavours. x

  9. Oh, Karen, don't feel intimidated. It was just what I was good at. I was crap at Art, (still am) and PE amongst other things. Not being good at sports but good at academic subjects doesn't necessarily make you popular at school. The sporty types were, hey ho.
    Thanks again for commenting.

  10. Thanks so much, Kirsty, for stopping by and commenting. Agree with you that being a Mum is thankless - had a bad morning with my two today tho they have now gone out to play, thankfully. I can't be the only Mum in England looking forward to the schools going back next week. :)

  11. Thanks for tagging me Kate, I will do this over the weekend.

  12. Jolly good. Looking forward to it. :)


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