In a world of increasing pressure on teachers and their students it is very easy to fall into negativity when challenges are never ending and being thrown from all directions. Just as you move through one set of obstacles then the next ones are already in line to enter. With work load increasing, curriculum changes and the continuous need for assessment and accountability it is all too easy to get lost in the labyrinth of modern teaching. As more teachers leave the profession and more young people suffer from mental illnesses, it is no wonder that escaping seems to be the favourable option.
Challenges in life
Feeling disillusioned as a Middle Leader and a teacher of 15 years, I too at the beginning of the year wanted very much to escape the profession, I had lost touch with initial reason I became a teacher and I had also experienced a bereavement, my aunt was in a coma for 10 days over the Christmas holidays and into the New Year. Unfortunately, as a family we got that dreaded decision to make whether we keep her alive or let her pass away. In the hours of her husband of 50 years having to make the one decision he did not want to make, he summoned his courage to revisit what her essence as a person was and how these attributes would live out if she would continue to live, as the infection on her brain would result in her needing 24 hour care and she would no longer know who we were as the brain damage was too severe for her to live her normal life. Which makes you realise that not only do we have challenges within our teaching careers, but when personal life also decides to become challenging where is the escapism, where is the safe place?
Teaching in Nepal
During the month of August, I joined LRTT (Limited Resource Teacher Training), where I delivered a teacher training programme to teachers in Kathmandu, Nepal. I was away for just under a month. I boarded a plane to join 26 people I barely knew and joined this LRTT team in Nepal and wow what an adventure for a teacher! After years of being in a classroom, the pressure of middle leadership and feeling less and less passionate about the profession I am in, this one trip seemed to re-join all the dots that had become disconnected. The passion for teaching had not been burnt out, I had just lost the connection to why I became a teacher – to empower young people through education to live great lives. Working on this project in Nepal connected me internationally to the teachers of Kathmandu, who too are wanting to empower young people through education. As we shared our differences and similarities of our education systems we work in, a bond was formed. It was in this connection that I truly embraced the work of LRTT and the work that the Positive Education platform are inspiring to do. As much as assessment and measuring impact is essential to the success of education, the power of Positive Education is how the community of teachers, connect together, as in this connection we can support each other in our challenges and celebrate with each other in our successes.
Positive psychology and education
As I work with LRTT, who are working towards ending educational inequality by creating a global community of teachers working together, I very much took with me my experience and understanding of Positive Psychology, as a current MAPP student at Bucks New University. Even though I started the LRTT journey with both these attributes in my life being separate entities, they intrinsically began to fuse together, in a flow experience that took its own momentum as I ventured through this teaching journey. In my need for escaping I rediscovered my passion for teaching by connecting with teachers from around the world who hearts are about helping young people flourish.
In this one trip, I experienced and learnt the power of Positive Psychology in its ability to heal, the power of Positive Education in its ability to instil happiness and wellbeing while participating in education and the power of LRTT and its vision to ensure ‘every child has a great teacher’. In this one trip, I regained my love for teaching and feel energised to continue to empower young people to fulfil their potential.
About the author: Kelly Seaward became a teacher in 2003, graduating from The Central School of Speech and Drama. She has Middle Leadership experience as Head of Department, Head of Year and a Coordinator of High Ability Students. Currently she is a MAPP student at Bucks New University. Her passion is Positive Education.