Becoming slaves to our own desires. Luke Gallagher recalls the first time that he knew he wanted to become a teacher.

As I sit in Bloomfield Restaurant having a latte with my grandparents, I cannot but reflect on my previous blog. Perhaps due to the fact that I am on holidays, I have had more time to relate my previous writing to my current situation.

Previously, I argued that my role as a primary P.E Specialist was the tip of the iceberg, as I suggested that a world of opportunities would unravel from the experience. As a result I focused on developing some of my personal achievements for the future such as: completing first aid and rugby qualifications and coaching rugby and cricket with Lions Sports Academy and Teddington Cricket Club respectively.

Although, these experiences added value to my character, I realised that I was beginning to lose sight of why I wanted to become a Physical Education teacher in the first place. It was almost as if I was working towards achieving a title rather than developing my characteristics and my ability to perform the duties of a P.E teacher to the best of my ability. By reflecting on this hypothesis, I wanted to get back to basics and get a firm understanding of the real reason why I decided to become a teacher.

When I was nine years old, I went on holidays with my parents, sister and grandparents. Each day consisted of multiple activities: having breakfast; swimming in the pool; going on excursions; eating out in restaurants. However, I will never forget one specific activity. The image of my granddad teaching me how to play pool.

Whilst playing pool with my grandad, I was fascinated by his ability to change my interest and develop it into a passion for playing the game. This experience became one of the most pivotal moments in my life, as it made me realise that I wanted to imitate my grandad’s actions and become a catalyst in developing each child’s passion for taking part in physical activity and sport for the future.

Sometimes individuals such as myself lose sight of what is important in life. We get so caught up in our work that we are blinded and become ‘slaves to our own desires.’ However, by going back to my educational roots and reflecting on the reason why I wanted to teach, it is evident that sometimes it is important for me to stop and reflect on my past goals in order for me to live in the present moment.

Failing my teacher training maths skills test was a blessing in disguise

As I sit on the train on my way to school in South London, I have eventually gathered the courage to write my next blog.

Let me set the scene. A year ago today, I applied to UCAS England to become a Primary Education teacher. At that time, my career direction was up in limbo, as I was not fully engaged with teaching the whole curriculum, rather I wanted to create a legacy in primary physical education.

Exactly ten months later, my body was filled with anguish and disappointment. This was mainly due to the fact that I failed my Maths skills test; thus preventing me from starting my P.G.C.E course (teaching training course) and from filling in another piece of my life journey jigsaw.

To top it all off, my girlfriend had passed both her skills tests and was accepted on to the same course. It was a horrible situation to be in. As much as I tried, I could not mask my feelings of hurt and confusion and found it difficult to support and be happy for her. Instead, I focused on gathering my feelings of sorrow and pushing them deep down in to the back of my mind.

Unfortunately, the wretched feeling of failure became too much, as I began to believe that society was looking down at me. While growing up in Ireland, I got the impression that you must sail through each life milestone that you come up against: you need to go to school to get to university; you need to go to Uni to get a job; you need to get a job to earn money; you need money to buy a house and material items such as holidays abroad and designer clothes. It’s awful to think that the culture that I was brought up in had shaped a part of my present personal identity and was subconsciously weighing me down.

It was during that time that I eventually opened my door of emotional perseverance, which resulted in my graduation blues eventually subsiding. The once slowly burning flames of my candle of faith were now growing higher each day.

After two successful teaching weeks had passed, I received an email from the St. Mary’s University Postgraduate team, where I had been accepted on to a Masters degree in Physical Education. Perhaps this was the key that I was waiting to find. The key that would give me a deeper understanding of the world in which I situate myself, in both a teaching and academic sense and that would later develop in to a domino effect of career opportunities.

Each experience we have in life, even if it is a negative one, positively influences our future careers, lives and selves. Failing the skills test didn’t mean that I was a failure. Although it made me question why I was put here on earth and if I was even meant to be a teacher, it was a ‘blessing in disguise’ as it allowed me to take more time to understand what professional career best suits me for the future, and it allowed me to take the time to show more gratitude towards my girlfriend.

 

 

 

Sometimes I look up at the barren trees in Winter and prepare to plant the Spring seeds of greatness.

As I stand on a crowded South West Train on my way to Christmas dinner in Tooting Broadway, I reflect upon my first experience of working in a primary school as a Physical Education Specialist.

I’m not going to lie to you and say that it was all plain sailing. Just imagine going into a sweet shop with a blind fold and randomly picking twenty sweets. Those sweets represent the mixture of emotions that I have felt over the last four months. 

By combining teaching with studying, it has allowed me to engage with both the practical and theoretical elements of primary physical education.  As a reflective practitioner, sometimes it is difficult to stop myself from becoming too critical of the world that I situate myself in. However, I argue that it may be even more detrimental to an individuals life journey, if they do not know when to say that they have had enough.

Most people think that their first job after university sets the tone for their future career; I also agree with this, as I suggest that it is used as a foundation for bigger things to come. Just imagine waking up one morning at twenty one years of age and realising that you have reached your peak and you cannot surpass that marker for the rest of your years. Its pretty scary isn’t it!

During my time in primary education, I had many positive experiences. For example, I enjoyed working with different age ranges such as Nursery, Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, where I have improved my ability to manage behaviour in the classroom and to reflect on the spot and change lessons accordingly. Furthermore, I enjoyed the simple everyday interactions that I made with individuals in the school. In this instance, I loved the feeling of walking through the school and meeting children in the hallway, smiling and saying good morning Mr. Gallagher, even though it was 2 o’ clock in the day. Talking to the Italian janitor about his passion for Chelsea football club and listening to teachers complaining about the Southern trains and their continuous delays. 

Currently, I have started my third term of teaching and as a result, my opinions have changed. In the past, I thought that my first job as a Primary P.E Specialist was where I wanted to be in life. However, after working in this setting for almost four months, and continuously reflecting on my experiences, I have decided otherwise. I argue that this job is just the tip of the ice-berg, as I sense that there is a world of opportunities that will unravel from this experience.

In my opinion, so many individuals (including myself) in this world are too afraid to take a situational step backwards in their careers as they feel that this will stop them from developing professionally. However, I argue otherwise, as I feel that if God did not help me to retrace my steps and work in the primary school environment, I would have missed out on a piece of my life journey jigsaw.

As we are coming towards the end of Winter and the beginning of the new season Spring, I cannot but relate this to my primary education career, where I look forward to the prospect of change and growth in relation to my professional development.

‘Sometimes I look up at the barren trees in Winter, and prepare to plant the Spring seeds of greatness’.

Finding the key to open the door of emotional perseverance

As my University career slowly unwinds for the short term, I reflect upon the events of the summer and how they have shaped and influenced my growth mindset for the upcoming year.

At first, the month of June started with great promise, as I was rewarded with a holiday to Toronto, Canada with my long term girlfriend. After an eventful year of handing in assignments and completing my dissertation, I was eager to exchange stress relieving walks by the river Thames, to create long lasting memories by Niagara Falls.

June quickly rolled in to July, where I boarded the emotional rollercoster that is graduation. Upon entering Westminister Cathedral, I felt delighted and slightly relieved that I had made it however, by the time August came around, the graduation blues affected me emotionally and psychologically where I worried subconsciously of what God and the world had in store for me ; thus affecting my sleeping patterns. Although I had filled in another piece of my life journey jigsaw, it seemed as if it had doubled in size; suggesting that I would need to conjure up all my strength and resilience to complete it.

This month consisted of job searching and C.V publishing so that I could find the best suitable career for my future. Along the way, I was offered many jobs :with great pay;  with little hours; with mediocre pay; with long travelling time. Unfortunately, the stress of making money: to pay council tax; for public transport; for food and to continue to live in Twickenham became unbearable at times. It made me realise how difficult adult life could be, if I did not prepare myself well enough.

As a result, I attended the house of God each week in search of life guidance. Ironically, on one such Sunday, my answer came to me in the form of a reading from the Gospel of St. Luke. The priest described emotional perseverance as a small door, that was open to anyone who wanted it. He argued that some individuals may open that door easily and get through, whereas others may have to wait a longer time to open it.

That month was the most difficult of my life so far. So much that it made me reflect upon the first blog that I had written, where I left Ireland to go to London, and re-align the importance of each of the pieces of my life journey jigsaw.

As September has eventually come upon me, I am glad to say that I have managed to find the key to open the door of emotional perseverance. Although, I had to think long and hard about the pros and cons of each of the jobs that I have been offered, and I had to wait a substantial time to open the door, I feel that I have chosen the best platform from which I can develop my skills as a Primary P.E Specialist. 

And for all you university students who have recently graduated, do not worry if you cannot find the most suitable job right away. Eventually you will find a key to unlock your own door of emotional perseverance, because ‘what is for you will never pass you.’

Filling In The Pieces Of My Life Journey Jigsaw

As I sit here in Heathrow Airport, in the aftermath of my university graduation, I reflect upon my three years studying in St. Mary’s University, Twickenham.

Since moving from Ireland to England, I have grown into a more rounded individual. Not only because I have completed a University degree, but because I have developed multiple dimensions of the self, which have added to my personal identity.

From the onset, I was identified as the Paddy of the group. Personally, it wasn’t my cup of tea, as I felt that it was a stereotype that I did not want to live up to. However, little did I know, my nationality was a niche that could be further explored to make me stand out from the colourless crowd.

During the early days of my academic years, I wanted to become a Secondary Physical Education teacher, similar to almost every Irish student studying at Strawberry Hill. However, over time I broadened my horizon in to the primary education field.

By working with different companies such as Little Kickers,   J and C Academy and working in primary schools such as Drayton Green, it reassured me that I was moving in the right professional direction. This was also aided by an endless list of individuals who have positively influenced and shaped my character as an employee and as a person.

Ultimately, with the guidance of God, family and friends, I was invited to graduate at Westminster Cathedral, Central London, where trumpets were blowing and crowds flocked in from all parts of England and the world to watch this momentous event.

I am proud to say that I studied at St. Mary’s University Twickenham and that I will always be a Simmie. However, now that another piece of my life journey jigsaw has been filled, it is time to look forward to the future and prepare myself for the next academic year. Then it will be time to start my new chapter as an Irish primary physical education teacher in London.

Sometimes it takes heartache and disappointment to discover your true identity

As a 3rd Year University student of Physical Education with Geography, I have looked back on my time studying over seas and wondered what would have happened if I had never left.     

About three years ago, when I was finishing my final year of school, my target was to become a Secondary P.E teacher. I knew that it was what I wanted to do, but deep down I had a feeling that I would not be able to achieve the necessary points.

As a result, I looked to other universities outside of Ireland for guidance. One of my team mates had moved to Liverpool the two years previous and I was intrigued by the numerous possibilities that moving away from the motherland would bring.

By meeting up with the school learning advisor once a week, it allowed me to draft ideas of my next academic destination at home or abroad. Strawberry Hill teaching College, or St. Mary’s University Twickenham, which is what it is known as today, was highlighted as the best fit; resulting in the sending of an application form so that the waiting game could commence. 
                                                              The morning of my results day had come along quickly and my family and friends showed their support, for me whatever the result. From what I remember, all of my friends had achieved to the best of their abilities, which was nice to hear, however not everyone was content.

That experience was the most vivid and upsetting of my life so far, as I felt as if I had lost my identity. Many questions were going through my head when I did not receive the offer that I was expecting from Ireland, such as what were people going to think of me and what was I going to do with my life?

Over the next few days my mother consolidated me and tried to bring some motivation back in to my life. She used the expression everything happens in life for a reason but I was not one bit impressed.

However, after a few days had passed, I had just returned from my job as a waiter in the local cafe, when the post man arrived at the door. Tearing open one of the letters revealed a note of acceptance to St. Mary’s, Twickenham.

At first, I didn’t know what to think. I knew it would be expensive to study in London, but I felt that it was a challenge that I was willing to accept.

This event will stay close to me for the rest of my years. Not because my mother was correct, but because God had chosen a different pathway for me to go down, where my transition from Ireland to London would allow me to discover my true identity as an Irish teacher living in the United Kingdom.