I remember having two steep learning curves in my life, neither took place at school. The first was when I had my first child, goodness knows how I kept him alive, by the third I knew what I was doing. They all, thankfully, turned out very well. The second was when I set up a company, which grew quickly and is going today; I learnt a huge amount in a short space of time.
What I have discovered is that when I stop learning I get bored. So in the last twelve months I have started to learn two new things, Spanish and Teaching English.
I left school at 15,I didn’t go to university and know very little about the arts, culture, geography and history. I spent my high school years smoking, skiving and snogging. I had no interest in learning and I certainly got by without it.
In later years I really felt like I missed out and I wanted to make up for lost time. I discovered a new me in the classroom, I’ve become a swot, I even asked for extra homework.
By far the most intensive learning has been the CELTA course, which I am currently doing, I have just three weeks left to do. I started the course 16 weeks ago and it’s turned into an obsession. If I look at a sentence, any sentence I am secretly testing myself is it a lexical or auxiliary verb?. I could fill pages with the new things that I have learnt about the language that I have been speaking for the last 50 years. But it is the process which has been fascinating to me, being observed, getting feedback, told where you went wrong (and where you were good) I haven’t had that for years, being Chief Executive of a company, nobody tells you what you did wrong!
So I teach and then other people tell me how I did, warts and all, mostly it’s been positive, although your every mistake is fed back to you, mostly my harshest critic is me. It’s an interesting experience. On the whole I like having the feedback and sometimes I think, hang on, I used to be in charge of stuff, I used to know what I was doing, and that knocks me off my feet a bit and makes me want to crawl back to a safer place. It doesn’t last long and I pick myself up.
Learning is a whole new enjoyable, tough, inspiring thing and I hope I never stop. I’m off to Spanish school in a month I think my brain may explode.