I vividly remember the first time someone told me I should be a teacher. I was 16, and I found myself helping tutor my friends with their maths homework. Then, when I was in my last year at University, my mentor offered me the opportunity to teach Geography 101 to the freshmen students.
After University, I found myself in the Jungle in the Baddula District of Sri Lanka, teaching at a primary school for 6 months. The principle and I split the kids into 2 groups, and split the room into 2 halves. Half way through the day we would swap sides. This is what we did every day except the day that a man got trampled by an elephant, and the whole school went to his funeral….
Since returning to England, I have been teaching rock climbing. It was an obvious calling for me. I actually designed my pathway to becoming a fully qualified Rock Climbing Instructor, as part of my Permaculture Diploma. It’s minimum wage and absolutely superb. Some days I teach 8 kids who walk in at 6pm, with a bottle of Mountain Dew in their hands. Other days I teach kids who communicate with head movements, and I use a special harness to support them up the wall. It is an incredibly rewarding job. Most days I am reminded of how different my University life would have been had I discovered rock climbing sooner. I would have drunk less, and probably studied less too!
I’ve been planning to teach an Introduction to Permaculture Course, since I moved to Tavistock in February. It’s been a goal of mine for a long time. I have taught many workshops and short sessions, and I have shadowed and supported two Introductory courses, and one Full Design Course. It was definitely time, and I felt very confident in my ability to share the material effectively.
I started designing my course in February 2012, and conversed with Transition Tavistock about it. I wanted to hold the course in Tavistock, and advertise heavily in Tavistock, so that it would be an opportunity for me to network, and settle into my community (Integrate rather than segregate). I planned to run the course in October, so that I could attend a teacher training course in August, and have plenty of time to apply everything I had learnt to my session plans before the course.
A friend mentioned the possibility of using the Friends Meeting House, in the centre of town, and when I contacted them, they said that I could rent the space for free/donation. This was great, because it meant I could keep my expenses down. Many courses at the moment are being cancelled due to low numbers, most likely a reflection on the state of the current economy. For this reason, I didn’t want to start forking out lots of money in advance. This was a boundary that I needed to work around throughout my course planning.
I wanted to have someone support me on the course, and I contacted a permaculture teacher who lives in Cornwall, Klaudia. She put me in touch with Matthew from Totnes, who had finished a Permaculture diploma, and was keen to shadow his first course. So I contacted him, and we used our need to meet as an opportunity to try our the new Riverford Restaurant in Plymouth. By this stage, I had registered myself as self-employed and this was the first receipt that I kept for tax exemption – It was very exciting! Matthew, a maths teacher, was lovely, and I felt very confident that we would bounce off each other in a teaching environment very well.
Read my full design report here….