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  • Writer's pictureMillie Coleman

My Journey from Teacher to Coach

Working as a teacher in an area of social and economic deprivation was never an easy job, more a vocation. The children often came to school with an empty tummy and a rucksack filled with personal baggage but they were our children and along with most other members of the team we wanted what was best for them, not just academically but socially, physically and emotionally too.

Following the school being placed into special measures, feelings were running high; anger that the LEA and the Headteacher hadn’t spotted the signs of our failure, guilt that I was part of the team who had let these children down and a determination to do anything I could to improve the school.

As a result when we were academised I greeted the proposed changes with excitement. The school and children I had been a part of for 12 years was to become ‘good’ again. Unfortunately this was not to be the case. In spite of working from 7:00 until 22:00 five days a week and every weekend, I still struggled to complete the workload expected as part of the ‘compliance’ process. Worse than this the children were all expected to fit into the same mould regardless of any Special Educational Need. Children who had poor attendance or behaviour problems were suddenly in alternative schools or being home educated. Children were scared to come to school and almost all had lost their spark.

After a period of 3 months I felt unable to continue and was signed off on stress leave as a result of the workload. I was not alone, so I began to use the coaching skills I had learnt as part of my leadership role to support others on stress leave. As I became better I decided that teaching was no longer the career I wanted. Wider reading of the Media had helped me to realise that my situation was not remarkable, teachers were leaving the profession in droves and I did not want to experience mental illness ever again.

I thought long and hard about what I did want. Helping and supporting others to find solutions to their problems and to achieve what they wanted from life, featured heavily in my life. It got me to remembering how amazing the results had been when I had used coaching in schools’, it also reminded me of how positively the other professionals had responded – deciding how they could improve their teaching and learning and creating an action plan to achieve this had not only improved the teaching in my department but also the wellbeing. Could I apply this principal to other areas of life?

Following lots of research and a leap of faith I enrolled on the Level 5 Personal Performance Coaching diploma in September 2018. After much studying, research, coaching and reflection whilst working as a supply teacher I passed with a distinction in May 2019.

Now I intend to use these new coaching skills to support others to achieve what they want to achieve, in all areas of their lives.

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