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Teacher, Traveller, Both!

Heather is a Primary Teacher from Canada who is currently working in London through Protocol Education. We have many teachers who make the trip to the UK to experience teaching here and the utilise the fact that the UK is a doorstop for the continent. Heather shares what she has found. 

Teacher, Traveller, Both!

Most young teachers live a life requiring multiple journeys. Whether it’s because we’re forced to seek jobs abroad, or because like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote “A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he forever remains in the same place.” Teachers take on different types of trips as their career evolves. If we remained static, we wouldn’t be such educators.

It’s true, that many young teachers have fewer attachments and obligations than the more established individuals who have that home base.  We seem to have the freedom and disposable income to allow us the privilege to tour the world. Perhaps the term ‘traveller’ is paralleled with the term ‘teacher’ in Aldous Huxley’s words “For the born traveller, travelling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding its victim’s time, money, energy and the sacrifice of comfort’. For many teachers, this is the life we know while working – and so it is never comfortable and we are always forced to take a step back and relearn what we’ve missed.  Our energies, always exhausted, we sometimes miss the common sense and obvious answers to the questions we continually ask. Just as “people travel to far away places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home” (Dagobert Runes).

What you can learn

When all is said and done, “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves” as Henry Thoreau states. Benjamin Disraeli  says “travel teaches toleration”, a skill all teachers have or develop innately. Andre Gide goes on “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time” and finally Ray Bradbury explains that “half the fun of travel is the aesthetic of lostness”.  It is the teaching and learning process that makes us better teachers, not just the destination. This can be said true to travellers who like T. S. Elliot focus on “the journey, not the arrival that matters”.  After all, “the real voyage of self discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” (Marcel Proust).

Living in the UK

Like George Bernard Shaw, “I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad”. I have now lived here in London for two years, having spent a previous time in South Korea. The UK has become very familiar to me, and I look forward to feeling the challenge of coming to grips with the surroundings.  I enjoy Martin Buber’s idea that “all journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware”. So, as I take another turn in my career path, and in my life path –heading to another and new part of the world, I take comfort in knowing, that I am the true definition of ‘traveller’ and ‘teacher’. “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, and travellers don’t know where they’re going”  (Paul Theroux). “And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened sense of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end” (Pico Iyer).

Check out other travel (*ahem* teaching) quotes at the following link:

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Tags: Heather, Canadian-trained, teacher, travel, opportunities, world, overseas, quotes

Category: Australian Teachers

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