I Am My Brand – Part 1: A Professional & Personal Journey

This is not me

Welcome to my very public midlife crisis. In October 2018 I jumped ship from a successful teaching career to be a full-time tutor. Since then I’ve grown my TeachAllAboutIT brand, learnt marketing, written books, spoken at conferences, and even written for the BBC. This September I opened my two-year dream of a tuition centre which is kitted out to feel like home instead of school. Oh, and 6 months ago I was one half of TTLN, then suddenly found myself needing to pivot hard and fast, creating the Tutors Learning Network … and yet I’m not “done”.

I’ve recently started working with a life coach to work out what “done” actually is, (yes, I know. But you know what? It’s made me take a hard look at who & what I am) and one of my tasks is to write my inner monologue. I see posts almost every day in our TTN Facebook group with the same worries and anxieties as I have, so in true “me” style, let’s go big or go home. So my free writing sessions are going out in blog form to you.

Why do I need a coach?

I hit 40 this year and as much as you can say it’s just a number, I’ve used up 14,600 days of my time on this planet already. Combine that with a few days where my body tried to kill me and it makes you take a good hard look at what you’re doing with your life.

I am relentlessly nervous that this house of cards that I’ve built is going to fall on my head (sometimes, I’m not wrong!). I initially thought it was imposter syndrome, but realized it was that I’d spent so much time being the image of what I thought successful educator looked like, I’d forgotten to be me.

So who am I?

This is not me

I wear a lot of hats. I’m not keen on all of them, but the one I wear proudly is the paid-up card-carrying nose thumber to authority. My soul wants to be up trees with Swampy (showing my age there!), but my bones want to be in a hot tub. I’ve reached an age where I feel confident enough to stop worrying about other people and just be me. As such, there’s going to be some changes around here!

This was so much easier to translate into leaving teaching where we were expected to conform to the latest buzzwords & theories. I went from being the teacher who was creative and taught using paper aeroplanes to exam drilling & stressing about ALPS & Progress 8 scores. Two years later & my spark is back because my confidence in teaching (and tutoring) with passion is back – say “normalised binary” to me & stand back while I tell you everything you never wanted to know about number systems… with added arm waving.

My next step is to throw every buzzword into the next paragraph:

It’s no use being brave about work when I’m not working on me too. If I am not being my authentic self, then my brand isn’t authentic. My entire purpose both personally & professionally is to facilitate people to be the best versions of themselves. And I need to model that.

So what comes next? Stay tuned as I document my inner monologue and let you in on some of the things that we’re so reluctant to say as a professional.

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