A mindful traveller, perpetual wanderer, part time meditator and newbie blogger

Posts tagged “learning

I am a teacher…

… slash traveller.

I feel in this world some people are destined to be teachers. I knew I was the moment I taught this young child to swim resulting in him achieving his first swimming badge. He swam 5 metres unaided, unaided physically that is. Of course I had aided a little by filling his spongelike brain with skills, tips and child-like analogies for him to digest as easy as a swallowing a mouthful of rainbow tasting skittles. Essentially, I gave him confidence and taught him how to believe in himself and not just taught him the skills required.

The moment he completed the distance, the look on his face, reflected the feelings in my gut. As a team, teacher and student, we conquered the 5 metre

milestone. It was this very moment I knew I was destined to be a teacher and a decade on I am still a teacher. Only now I am a teacher slash traveller in the city of Chiang Mai and I am now teaching kiddies in another art; the art of the English language. Although much less physical, the concept is still the same. I teach the children skills and ways to believe in themselves to give them the confidence to speak another language while eradicating fear. Fear of making a mistake and fear of trying and experiencing something new.

This journey began back in 2009 with Krissi suggesting a move to Chiang Mai, Thailand. We had both travelled here previously, but the thought of living, working and earning in this amazing city seemed a million miles away, both geographically and practically. However, with the power of two tenacious minds, it happened.

We booked it. We packed it. We f**ked off.

After many days of traipsing around the schools of Chiang Mai in the hot sun while donning a shirt, a tie, some trousers and my extremely impractical leather cowboy boots, it was time for a game change.

From this point onwards, networking was the game.

For me, this involved going to bars and becoming acquainted with the local foreigners and teachers that lived and worked the way I wished too. The more I socialised, the more I learnt that although dishing out resumes left, right and centre was good, networking was a vital way in getting someone to recommend you within their school. A recommendation allows a big fat foot in the door, possibly followed with a leap.

The socialising paid off and after an interview and a demonstration lesson, I landed myself a job within a well established chain of schools in Thailand. Not only this, but I was teaching English to the perfect age, four to five year old kiddies. Right now I can hear some of you squirm at the thought. Somehow their naivety and innocence inspires me. Most of them are always willing to try something new without doubt and without fear. Although we cant live our adult life exactly as a child does due to responsibility, there is certainly something we can take from children that allows us to be open, honest and willing to try new things within this world.

They inspire me. 

The years after this, not only broadened my bank of nursery rhymes, but I worked, earned, paid off debts from the UK, and travelled around southern Thailand and its surrounding countries including Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia. I was even able to pick up my PADI SCUBA diving license. This is also something I have aspirations to do. I love SCUBA diving in the ‘big blue’ and to teach people the skills needed to see this underwater blueness would be amaaaaaaaaaaazin.

In this world many people are struggling to find their niche in life. Maybe there was an encounter with a family of leprechauns in a previous life I don’t know, but mine is to teach and inspire others. Whether its children, SCUBA diving or swimming, I know I want to teach.

My job now is taking me away from teaching kids, but into the world of training people to become teachers. I will be giving people the skills needed to teach and also live the life I have been living for the past two years.

Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.

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Bee inspired (pun intended)

I liked this movie and surprisingly was inspired by this movie. However, only by the first 30 minutes or so and then it involved a weird infatuation an insect had on a human being. The movie I am talking about is Pixar’s Bee Movie.

The movie begins with Barry the bee graduating from bee school and it’s now time for him to get a job.

A job where?

A job in the hive. He can choose from hundreds of different options as long as it’s in the hive. His family want him to become a stirrer of honey because his grandfather was a stirrer,his father is a stirrer and they want Barry to also become a stirrer. The thought made Barry shudder with fear. As a result, he envied the pollinators and was determined to leave the hive. However, socially, this was not acceptable. Why couldn’t he go out and see the world with the pollinators.

There is no reason, apart from social norms and expectations. Which for me, are not a reason to be unhappy and not live your life the way you wish. With determination and some cheekiness, Barry persuades the pollinators to take him out to collect pollen. Meaning he will have an opportunity to leave the hive and experience something new.

Inspired yet? Wait for the next part.

The moment Barry leaves the dark orange of the hive, you can really sense the wonderment and freedom he feels when he sees the vast blueness of the sky and the deep green of the trees for the first time.

He literally is in awe.

Barry, the bee that was expected to follow social norms broke out from his box and saw the world, and all its wonders. For him, this involved seeing the trees, the flowers, the sunlight and the blueness of the sky. He saw life. As you will see with the trailer I have embedded, he makes mistakes. He makes a lot of mistakes, but he is free from norms and expectations.

Why do we have to follow social norms or expectations? The answer is that we don’t have to, however we have spent our lives being conditioned. Take parents for example: Most do an amazing job for the first few decades, but then struggle to let go let their children and let them live and make their own mistakes. Some parents expect a lot. Some parents want their child to gain a career, settle down, find a boyfriend/girlfriend.

blah blah blah…

We are born into the world and dependant on our parents. As with a bird, a whale and a tiger, there comes a time when we have to ‘fly the nest’. For some, this could involve breaking free from the norms and expectations parents put on them. For others, it simply means moving out and tackling the world by making their own decisions, along with making their own mistakes. In fact, my way of learning is by making mistakes. I have made many in the past. I am possibly may be making one now but unaware of it. I know for sure I plan to make more in the future. Some will be intentional by taking unknown risks, others will be a mistake only in reflection. Whatever they are, the secret is to know they are mistakes and learn from them.

Do not regret them.

As a teacher of both swimming and English, I have always taught not only how to do things correctly, but I also taught my students how to do things wrong. I feel there is some great wisdom in knowing when a mistake is a mistake.

It certainly makes you more aware of when things are going right.

For me, I am realising more and more I am blessed with parents that have never expected much of me as long as I was happy. Of course, if I was addicted to Heroin i’m fairly sure they would have something to say. But, all in all, happiness was encouraged. I guess I sometimes used to wish they encouraged academia more, but in the end it meant that at the age of 22, I chose to go to university for myself and not for any other reason or expectation.

This is something that I appreciate (a lot, a lot, a lot).Thank you to both my mum and my dad. 

I guess what I am trying to say is life is confuzzling enough without people being torn between what they want and what their parents, or anyone else for that matter, think they should do. Like all things in nature, you need to break free from your nest and break free from social norms and expectations and start living your own life. If that is what you so desire.

Just like Barry.

P.S Check out the video below and ‘bee’ inspired.