Today I had a meeting with my boss in which he offered me some extra paid work over the coming year, assisting him with administration on another, smaller research project he is working on. Currently I am a part-time project manager for a 3-year research project which ends late 2015. However, as the PGCE I have applied for begins this September, I had decided I would probably have to give up my current job because the course is full time.
So, in the meeting, I was upfront with my boss and told him about my plans, my struggle to find work in academia and my lack of enthusiasm for moving around the country chasing temporary lectureships. I expected him to say, ‘Oh, that’s a shame…’ and move on. But instead he suggested that if I thought I could handle it, I’d be more than welcome to continue my job during my PGCE and just fit it in whenever I could. Even though it would require working some evenings and weekends, it would only be for a year and it would solve all of my financial concerns, which the thought of giving up work and studying full time had created.
Not only that, but our discussion then turned to my interest in the philosophy of education, my passion for teaching and my desire to keep my foot in the door of academia. My boss suggested that in the future, the department hoped to create a post along those lines. Currently, the department runs a volunteer programme whereby students in the department teach philosophy to underprivileged kids in the city, which my boss is heavily involved in. His aim is to make that programme an official part of the syllabus and suggested that I might be ideal for such a role.
What I realised from our meeting is that I would be silly to cut ties with academia completely and that my boss clearly wants to help me out. While much of our discussion was hypothetical, I still felt an increased sense of optimism about the future and that even though I don’t know exactly what I’ll end up doing in my career, that doesn’t really matter and is half the fun! Most people end up getting into things by chance, by seizing opportunities when they present themselves, by knowing the right people and by stumbling upon their skills and passions.
One more thing. After the placement I did at the 6th form college, the teacher I was shadowing was so impressed by my knowledge and how I communicated with his students that he has offered me the opportunity to come back and teach part of the Philosophy syllabus next academic year, if I can fit it around my teacher training. So it looks like it’s going to be a very busy year and I couldn’t be happier.