What gets me up in the morning: 'Every day brings a new challenge, whether it is academic or pastoral'

Having a job that keeps me on my toes helps me to thrive, says one geography subject leader

Matt Childs

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It’s 6.30am and I’m at my desk in my office, the radio is on, my coffee is done and I’m ready for another busy day. I haven’t a clue what will happen and I have no doubt that it will be busy, but I’m ready – and that is the beauty of it. 

I thrive on having a job where something will always happen to keep me on my toes. Whether it’s dealing with a couple of students squabbling in the playground, trying to persuade a stroppy Year 11 to go to class, figuring out a way to ensure that yet another exam specification can be successfully implemented and taught by subject staff or testing out the latest marking craze. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to my day at all, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am a geographer and I love getting outdoors. For me, the prospect of finishing university and being stuck indoors in an office job completing mundane tasks was horrifying – as was the notion of working outdoors all the time doing the same task over and over again. I was worried that either of these would totally destroy my passion for my subject and my love of the great outdoors. I wanted to make a difference and give back as much as I could to help others, just as others had done so for me when I was younger. Teaching was the perfect way to combine this with my love of geography.

It's not a job, it's a vocation

So here I am. I couldn’t think of anything better to do with my life. It’s not a job, it’s a vocation. It doesn’t feel like work, not when you enjoy it so much. Yes, sure, there is a lot that can get you down in this job, which I can’t even bring myself to explain – that is for someone else to write about in the TES "What keeps me awake at night" blog. If you can see past the daily turmoil of changing opinions and policies in the current educational landscape, and, quite frankly, ignore it (because let’s face it, most people are just winging it), then it is the best job in the world.

I love the fact that every day is different. There is always a new challenge, whether it is academic or pastoral. The best thing is that I can still get out and experience the great outdoors by running numerous local, national and international field trips – inspiring others through the natural world that has enthused me so passionately and will undoubtedly continue to do so. Every day is different, you never know what to expect, and that’s just the way I like it.

Matt Childs is lead practitioner (options curriculum) and subject leader for geography at Stanley Park High in Carshalton, Surrey. He tweets as @mrmattchilds

To tell us what gets you up in the morning, email chloe.darracott-cankovic@tesglobal.com

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