Isn’t it funny how things work out! I started this year knowing exactly what I was going to do. I spent the Christmas break planning, applying for the next step and early in 2020 had secured a position to make it happen …and then COVID-19 hit!
Late 2019, I made the decision to look at changing the direction of my career. I had spent 19 years at St Paul's, the only school I had taught at since graduating. It had given me some wonderful opportunities, but it was the right time in my life to make a change. I wanted an adventure. I wanted to travel and I wanted to learn something new. I had applied for numerous International jobs and I was lucky enough to secure a Design position at a very good International school in Beijing where I was going to teach in the International Baccalaureate space. I resigned from St Paul's, leaving enough time to enjoy some down time before taking up this new role. I was very excited at the prospect of a new school, teaching new curriculum and living in a new country.
COVID-19 was already around when I accepted the new position and I was well aware of it. But as the weeks and months went on the wretched virus wasn’t going away and overseas travel restrictions were locked in place. Add to that the political tensions and my dreams of adventure were fast slipping away. I won’t bore you with the details but the situation at the school in Beijing had been affected by COVID-19. Like the rest of the world, they were feeling the effects. They were very transparent and open about the situation and offered me a chance to get out if I didn’t feel comfortable. After considerable thought and talking to lots of people, I took this option with the thought that perhaps now is not the time. Back to square one!
I’m really fortunate in life that I’m not driven by money. I’m certainly not rich and I don’t consider myself frugal, but I am comfortable in my financial position. So, as I approached this next phase in my life, I kept reminding myself that I have time on my side and that there are people in a worse position than me. I decided to approach this next step as an opportunity to explore my options. This situation was not a problem, but an opportunity!
I started this by reaching out to friends, colleagues and fellow education professionals to let them know where I was at. To my great surprise, within 48hrs I had signed a contract to teach in term 4 and a week later, here I am sitting on a plane writing this blog.
I am on my way to Adelaide to stay a night before flying to Alice Springs tomorrow and then driving 5 hours south to Yulara. For the next 10 weeks I am going to be teaching at a school that has 3 campuses spread out over 500kms. The school has a total of 70 students across the 3 campuses and was set up to educate Anunga children. To these students, English is a second language. They regularly don’t attend school and all are on individual learning plans. Yulara, the biggest of the 3 towns, has some basic shops. The other 2 towns I will be driving to each week, are only accessible by dirt roads and I have to take my own supplies and a satellite phone.
I know I created my own luck by being proactive. However, as a teacher and in particular a design teacher, I think I have also developed the ability to be flexible, adaptable and look at situations with a different mindset than I once had.
Am I excited about the next 10weeks? You bet I am! This year I wanted to have an adventure. I wanted to travel and I wanted to learn something new …and that is exactly what I’m going to get!
Isn’t it funny how things work out!