Don't stop believing!

Don't stop believing!

I absolutely love this song. Whether I adhere to the title is another matter! 

I used to believe in myself so much more than I do at the moment. I suppose many of us do, in our youth. Although, for me I never believed I would pass Higher Maths and yes, my premonition was right. It didn't help that I fancied the lad in front of me to bits so most of my lessons were spent staring at his neck and waiting for him to turn around and flick his 90s curtain hair do at me!

Anyway, apart from a few things like that, I pretty much believed. I just got on with things. I was confident and gave things a go. Netball team? Yes please! Cross country? Count me in! School play. Absolutely and the part of Nancy! Choir concert? On the front row! Chess competition? Yeah, why not? I really did put my hand up to anything and believed I would either be really at it or if mediocre, I had given it my best.

Where does it go then? This confidence of youth? Does it disappear in a puff of smoke once you leave the cushioning years of school and college? I do realise, for some even these years aren't cushioned. I went through my first year been downtrodden by a certain person who I never stuck up to and wish I had. Funny that this often repeats itself in adulthood and you are once more on that playground. Except this time, they don't want to copy your homework. 

I was cushioned through school and college and then, Wham! The fledgling flew to Derby but only managed a term. A mixture of choosing the wrong degree and housemates and shed loads of homesickness. Apart from my Maths and Pottery GCSEs, this was my first big fail. In my eyes. My first trip up on the path of life. My family and friends were amazing. I was supported by my fave A level tutor to apply again the next year, nearer to home and I left that meeting feeling positive. Until I bumped into another member of staff who will remain anonymous, who shook his head and called me a 'Silly girl'. I proved that person wrong though and went on to gain a 2:1 in my English Degree at Huddersfield uni. 

There started the 'dust yourself off and try again' that I am still doing to this day! And we all are. We can all help each other because at some time or another, we have all gone through something similar. We all make mistakes through life or try things that just aren't for us. We learn from them. It is hard to not feel bad about situations that have happened, or over analyse them. We have to remember they are part of life. This is brilliant from JK Rowling. Life would be boring if we did not 'feel the fear and do it anyway'. Title of a good book I read by Susan Jeffers!

I passed my PGCE and was all bright eyed and bushy tailed to become a Secondary teacher. I still held out to do my MA in Poetry at Huddersfield. One day! 

Well, what can I say? I loved elements of my Secondary teaching and specialising in English. I loved teaching Romeo and Juliet and poetry. The problem was. Mmmm, the problems were as follows:

I tried to be their friends.

I got the bus with the school children at the back.

I took things to heart and did not take criticism very well.

I got the school bus.

I tried to listen to too many people giving advice and opinions instead of just the people who mattered.

I got the chuffing school bus!

I did not use my grammar correctly, or Standard English and was offered elocution lessons.

I got the @#@# school bus!

Fast forward a year and I was happily ensconced in primary, teaching to my heart's content and making all my wall displays look marvellous! I did nearly leave teaching after that first year. I questioned if I was good enough. Yes Journey, I did stop believing. Turns out, I was just more suited to a different age of children and style of teaching!

I spent many years at an amazing school, Goldthorpe Primary and I began to believe again, under the care of my amazing mentor, whose still a good friend, and a brilliant staff who were very dear to me. We were a work family. I was an appreciated member of this family and I bloomed. Teaching has always been my calling and I put my heart and soul into it. I bloody loved it! I had such amazing relationships with staff and am still friends with some twenty years on. I do miss working with this amazing set of people who would drop what they were doing to help you. I do miss being a part of a close knit work team but I feel lucky to have had these special years.

Unfortunately, things cannot stay the same. Teaching, along with other professions has changed. It perhaps needed to change a bit but not that much! Slowly, the old school teachers of this world were becoming the dinosaurs as they were threatened with extinction. I clung so tightly to my blackboard as it was carted off and thrown in the skip! Only joking! I did, in my final years of teaching, long for the old school style of teaching, pre data sheets and three hour meetings. The days of having whole art afternoons, where you could start and finish a piece of work in one go. The days of not having to regimentally stick to a timetable minute by minute. You knew your kids and their needs without filling five hundred forms in.

I sound rather cynical. Perhaps. I see it as more rebellious. I yearned to go back to those times but times move on. Nothing ever stays the same. I think the struggle is when you have been in a place where your face fitted so well, you were very highly thought of by everyone. Then that old team disintegrates and folk leave one by one. You go from being a young, energetic teacher who is helped and supported by the circle of more experienced teachers to being 'old schools' amongst some of the techno whizz, youngsters who hardly question extra paperwork and form filling in. I like paper and I love writing. I am just from that era of doing the do. You love the actual teaching bit, just not all that paperwork! This is the same in so many other professions too, sadly.

So, yes, we do meet obstacles and are faced with people in every job who will put us down and criticise us so much we start questioning ourselves. Once some people see that chink, they will chisel you down, slowly until you feel you are not good enough. You berate yourself for letting this happen to you. You put yourself down and feel a failure. Well, you need to be kinder to yourself.

That is how I felt when I left teaching. I was left with such a turmoil of emotions. Mainly, failure. I had failed big time. Done all that degree, PGCE, years of work and they were all wasted. I felt lost. Who I am now? I have no role in society anymore. I feel left out with all my other professional friends. 

It was only when I updated my CV with Reed in Partnership, that I realised I was not a failure. I had been concentrating on the last year or two of my teaching, not the whole 20 years. As I read it back  I was like, who is this person? Wow! She has achieved so much! She should be proud of herself. Oh, that person is me!  They talk a lot about transferable skills and well, I have loads! 

That was a turning point for me. And my visits to Recovery College. I enrolled on Renew You. I thought I had been trying to get the old me back but she was long gone. Along with some of the guilt I felt for letting certain folk get to me and treat me so badly. Turns out that was not actually my fault!

So, instead of refinding myself, I found parts of the old me and some new, very interesting bits too. In fact, two and a half years on and I am still evolving. There were so many amazing people on this course and we bonded straight away. It was wonderful to watch us all, one by one healing each week.

One of my main things was purpose. I thought teaching defined me but it was only one part of me. I was supported by amazing family and friends. Two told me to write a blog. I love my blog and I love that they had faith in me when mine had run out. They saw something in me I could not. My blog has helped me so much. I am really proud of my writing. I have started a novel too so watch this space! 

I also received some Hypnotherapy from the amazing Sonia Swaby Hypnotherapy. She was amazing at getting me to think more positively and use my 'happy brain'. She put a post on facebook the other day about thinking of something good you had done that day and I must admit, I had to really think and get back to her on that! We are so not used to patting ourselves on the backs. I could have told you straight away things I had done wrongly. It made me think of Miranda and Heather Small.

It is a change in mindset, thinking positively. You might be an optimist about everything else, just not yourself! Big yourself up! 

So, try to, in the words of another fab rock group, 'keep the faith'. You are only human. Everyone makes mistakes. Have faith in yourself and what you can do.

It is good to remember that your own opinion of yourself actually matters. You are the one living with yourself and your decisions. 

You start to realise the people around you who actually do matter. These people care for you and want the best for you. Listen to these people who are your nearest and dearest. Their opinions matter. 

I have spent much time trying to please too many people. Turns out, you just end up hurting yourself more. You start questioning yourself and changing yourself, little by little, just to fit in with those who do not accept you for you. Your true people will accept your flaws and love you for every part of you. 

I think this is brilliant. Do not shrink yourself, or dilute your character. There will be so many who will embrace your youness. Stuff the rest! I could not find that quote on pinterest so this is the nearest to it! I suppose our characters, personalities, speech and actions are our brands. I have never looked at it like that before! One of the biggest things is how people talk about folk behind their backs. Such a giveaway if someone is talking about folk to you. It makes you wonder what they are saying about you!

The people who treat you well, they are who matter. I think this next quote speaks absolute volumes. A few years ago, I let someone rent this space and they were far from a good tenant. Took me ages to evict them, it did!

I have spent much time doubting myself, my opinions, my choices, my actions. Everything really! I am not doing this as much now. I would justify myself to people who did not deserve it. I am being more true to myself now. And it feels good!

Saying that, you have to accept your own quirks too. I have battled with mine for such a long time, hiding my anxiety and insecurities to fit in, especially at work. When you accept them, that they are much a part of you as your hair colour or your laugh, then you will find some peace within you. I spent so much time hiding anxiety, it got in my way of my everyday and caused more anxiety. And do not be ashamed of your feelings and emotions. Anxiety and depression can happen to anyone. People dealing with these on a daily basis are very strong. They are dealing with so much extra stuff on top of everything else, all with a smile on their face.

That Enoughness can be a hard thing, worrying that we are not good enough. We try to do too much, be everything to everyone. We are not robots, but humans who need a break every now and then! But then, who judges just what is enough? Who gets to decide? Be your own judge. Use your own ruler!

And remember, we are all editing our way through life. Some lighter mistakes that need a rubber. Some heavier that need the bottle of tippex! Be patient as we draft and redraft our lives every day. 

Keep believing. After momentary set backs, carry on. We do bounce back, with the help of fab family and friends. We are all stronger than we think we are. 

I had family and friends who supported my blog right from the start. The friend who pushed me to start it, I am so pleased they saw the light still in me. When we are low, we need reminding of our strengths and what sets our souls on fire. We need time to rekindle our passions and loves. One of mine was writing and sharing (probably over sharing at times!) I love that my blog has helped and cheered others up over these three lockdowns. Remember what feeds your soul, and do that.

So, listen to Journey and Bon Jovi and hold that head high. Believe in yourself! 


  1. Brilliant blog. Keep writing and keep the faith!

  2. Great Post!Don’t try to please anyone, except for yourself. You can never please anyone, so it is futile trying. Just be happy with who you are.

    1. Thankyou! Yes, we cannot please everyone!

  3. Fab blog and I love your honesty about life! Sometimes we all get so lost in life we forget ourselves and I need to remember this too. Thank you and I will be reading more.

    1. Thankyou so much. Glad you liked it and please read more!


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