Who am I?
To paraphrase the late, lamented Prince's pop masterpiece Nothing Compares 2 U: It's been seven hours and ten weeks, since I took myself awaaaaay... (from teaching.)
My career for the last 15 years was wonderful, frustrating, rewarding, terrifying, pressured, fun, creative, harrowing, joyful and knackering. It was great to be part of a team, but I began to lose a sense of myself.
I still love it. Working with children is brilliant and I may well go back to it. The highs of teaching surpass any I've had in any other job. (To be fair, my previous jobs involved candle carving and staring out the window of a gift shop longing for armageddon.)
Despite the best efforts of the tabloid press and certain Education secretaries throughout the years, teaching is still an admired and respected profession. It has status; people kind of know what you do. At a party, if someone asks about your job, they don't have to nod and smile in mock-comprehension the way I do if someone tells me they're a Co-Location Datacenter Sourcing operative. Sure, they take the piss about the long holidays and finishing at 3.30. But smug in the knowledge that you're an adult in a position of great responsibility, maturity and importance you smile weakly and wish bad grammar on all their offspring.
So I thought I might be missing the sense of grandeur conferred by my former profession (just pausing for all my teacher pals to snort with derision. Stop reading this, you've got that lesson on fronted adverbials to prepare.) I thought I'd miss the security, the decent pay and the holidays. But I don't. I don't miss those things because they've been replaced by another, all-consuming feeling. That of being me. With very few compromises, hardly any half-drunk cups of tea and absolutely no data analysis. Although there is that self-assessment tax thing looming... damn.
I'm not a teacher anymore, at least not at the moment. But I'm not a co-location, datacenter sourcing operative either. I'm an illustrator.
Just don't tell the mortgage company.