It's all very well saying "finding your element is the road to self fulfillment" but what happens if following this path means letting go of your closest friends, especially at school. What happens if they think what your doing is a waste of time? As a teacher do you need every student to be persuing their "Element" and is this possible?

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Hi Dave,

I believe you have to choose a career that you love turning up to everyday. After completing this PGCE I plan on travelling and living in Australia/New Zealand where I will not know anyone, and there's no way anyone could put me off doing it.

I believe that as a teacher it is your job to help students find a career path that suits them, and then give them options on how to reach that career. I don't think that you should listen to negative comments from people that may stop you from reaching where you want to be in life!


Hi Dave,

I remember choosing my options at high school in year 9 and after sending in my completed slip of decisions I made, a number of us were dragged into a senior management's office where he lectured us about the lack of jobs and opportunities in the arts and proceeded to 'interview' us one-by-one to try to persuade us to join the chemistry or geography classes. It was obvious to all of us that the issue was in the number of students in classes and it wasn't our problem. They are called 'options' for a reason. So I guess that is the other end of what you are talking about.

I would say that it is good to encourage a student's chosen path, even if your concerns regarding this do happen. Students will meet new friends with similar interests in their chosen topic area, and if they lose friends because of their interests they were never friends in the first place. I know some learners follow friends into certain subjects and classes etc, but in the end they will naturally find their own path. My Dad loved it that I had a keen interest in art but he was worried about my future and talked to me about a more sensible option (in his opinion). Even when I was doing well on the Nursing degree I could never visualise myself as a Nurse. I went back to Art, and it felt natural and right. I haven't ever regretted that decision.

I think people are drawn to certain areas of education and as a teacher you can encourage them and influence them in some ways but I don't think teachers can change a students interest that dramatically. I think it is part of who they are.

Hi Dave, I agree with Aimee you have to do what is right for you. If these friends are 'real' friends then they will support you no matter what you are doing. I'd encourage students to follow the right path for them and to do whatever they are best at but most importantly what they enjoy doing.
Hi Dave,

From a personal point of view, I was one of the students who left their friends at Braintree college to study art in Colchester. I did miss my friends, but found that I made new friends who I had much more in common with. I still kept in contact with my old friends, but found I was so much happier pursuing a subject that I enjoyed and that it took the sting out of such as dramatic change.

I had a student at Tabor who was in the same position, who was terrified of the change as he was going to study away from his friends. I tried to put it in perspective for him that it is scary, but that you will always find someone to talk to and that you have something in common with, and that he was going to be studying something that he was really passionate about, which would make things even more enjoyable for him.

I suppose it is down to the individual, but I do know that some of my friends from school, the ones who chose to stay with the herd rather than pursue their passions, are not in the places they want to be, and are not that happy about it either. On the other hand, some have embraced the comfort of the staus quo and are happy. I think it's about supporting the right to choice, and making sure that they are aware of all their options so they can decide for themselves. It's better to support rather than influence or push them into something that may not be good for them - ultimately they have to find their own way.

Hi Dave,

I am not sure at what point in life we really do achieve self fulfillment (I am not 100% onboard with Maslow here). I believe our destinations change as things happen and effect our personal lives in ways we maybe did not plan for, or see coming.

Having lived many years in parts of the world generalised as '3rd world', I have seen millions of people that do not even get a chance to plan and affect their futures. Poverty tends to close off many avenues as well as be an underlying cause of 'general-nothingness'.

I also believe our ambitions towards fulfillment change as we age. I spent 32 years in various roles within engineering both here in the UK and throughout Asia. Last year I enrolled to train as a teacher which I am very proud of and looking forward too very much being recognised as.

If you have an ambition to become a teacher, good friends will cut you some slack once they see you motivated and energised by studying towards a PGCE or Cert Ed.

Go for it I say ... !! Roland Baggott

Hi Dave

All I can say is that as a teenager I was not supported in following my love of Art & Design and was told after you have finished your BTEC you have had your bit of fun, get yourself a real job LOL. I then spent some years in different jobs but was never happy, it took another 15 years until I did say I am going to do a degree and don't care what you think. I needed to fulfil my need for wanting to be creative.

I am now running my own design practice and have never been happier, I would tell my students you only live once and live your life with no regrets, do what is going to make you happy.

Hi Dave,

Wish I knew what I wanted to do at school leaving time!  I could draw a bit, so it was art school for me, but I also wanted to sell cars!!  Now, at my age, I've been lucky enough to find my 'element', return to get a degree, to learn to teach, and hopefully now, to just get on with it...  We cannot possibly presume that every student knows what they want to do.  They are all leaves, subject to the power and direction of life's wind... all we can do as teachers is give them a toolkit called confidence...



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