On Tuesday, teachers all over the country are going on strike to protect their pensions, work/life balance and pay and conditions. This has, yet again, caused a lot of negative reaction from parents who feel we should not be striking as we have enough pay and far too many holidays.
Unfortunately, recent surveys have shown that due to the increasing pressure on people working within our education system, teacher/school moral is at an all time low. As a teacher, I find this worrying as we are the people at the forefront of making a positive difference to the next generation. However how can we make this difference if we don’t enjoy our work? or feel that our career is valued by others?
Over the last few months, I have found myself in various conversations defending my profession and more importantly explaining why I absolutely LOVE it, even though my work / life balance is more a work / work balance. I eat, sleep and drink school! I always say – it’s not a job , it’s a vocation.
A vocation is a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation to which a person is specially drawn. When thinking about is it vocation or a career, I came across the quote above which sums it up perfectly. It’s not about what you do but who you are. My head teacher at school always says, if she ever calls school ‘work’ she will know it is no longer for her. I feel that it’s what you’re doing in life that makes a difference for you (and others), that builds meaning for you, and that you can look back on in your later years to see the impact you’ve made on the world. Webster’s dictionary defines career as “to run or move at full speed, rush wildly.” In other words, you can go around and around really fast for a long time but never get anywhere or enjoy it. Therefore the impact you have will be limited. In order to make a positive impact in yours and others lives what you do must be part of who you are. It must be a vocation! You must have a strong feeling toward what you do and why you do it.
So I will be striking on Tuesday, but it won’t be for the day off it will be because I feel strongly about protecting the vocation of teaching. The vocation that can make a real difference in the lives of children and young people, shaping them to be the future generation we need.
My challenge to you is to think about, what is your vocation? What do you feel strongly drawn to? Where do you think you can make a big impact?
Why not take a look at Chennai Challenge and see whether you are drawn to coming on project with us to make a real difference in the lives of people in India as well as making a difference to your own life.