EVERY student has a dream. Miles away from home, mixing with people from all over the world, makes you broaden your horizons, especially if you come from a close-knit family in a small village in West Yorkshire.
Almost 25 years ago “bright eyed and bushy tailed” and keen to change the world, my dream was to travel to Africa and teach English in a primary school.
A quarter of a century later I am the education reporter for the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, but only for the next four weeks.
I have heard many people say that when you have travelled to the African continent it calls you back.
A three-week trip to Kenya and Tanzania during my second year at university sealed my fate. It’s been calling me back ever since.
And now while I may not boarding a plane anytime soon, my life is taking a new direction.
My 21 years at the Examiner and 24 years as a journalist in total are set to end and I am delighted, though somewhat reflective to report I am set to follow my dream.
After graduation I wanted to study a year’s Teaching English as a Foreign Language course “down South” and then travel to wherever I felt a calling.
But I met my husband-to-be that summer, applied and was successful in obtaining a job on a weekly newspaper and was advised in no uncertain terms by loving and hardworking parents bound by Yorkshire thrift that I’d been away from home for three years and now was time to “start working for a living.”
I’ve enjoyed every minute, well almost every minute.
When I have given talks to schools about my early days of reporting, they and many of my younger colleagues, can hardly believe I wrote stories on manual typewriters before any type of computer or new technology had ventured into a smoky newsroom.
My early reporting days were very happy ones at the Barnsley Chronicle, still an independently-owned weekly newspaper.
Ironically when I qualified and came for a reporter’s job at the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, former news editor Peter Hinchliffe and myself spent most of my interview talking about Kenya, where I had travelled and where he had worked for several years.
I started work at the Examiner on May Day, May 7, 1990 at the former Ramsden Street offices and spent just six months there before we moved to new purpose-built premises in Queen Street South.
Just over a month ago I moved once again to the Bradley Business Park where our offices are now situated.
My dream to teach has continued throughout and I have volunteered in schools and studied hard over the last few years to achieve my goal.
When the letter arrived in the post at Easter after a family holiday, to say I had been successful in obtaining a place on the Graduate Training Scheme for Teacher Training at the fantastic Kirklees school where I have volunteered, I ran round the garden twice with my hands in the air. Much to the amusement of my proud family.
My husband, the one I met 24 years ago, just smiled knowingly. “Now is your time to follow the dream,” he said.
I received a lovely email from a Huddersfield school this week which made this “hardened hack” shed a tear.
It said: “I am sure that next year you will be preparing for your new class in whatever school is lucky to get you (after a hard years studying) and after that it is bedlam and you will forget your own name!
“You have made a very brave decision but won't regret it for a minute you will make your family proud!”
Thanks Angela it means a lot.