How far can I go? Jason's story
Our guest contributor this week is Jason Boucher, educator and passionate life long learner. After spending 17 years as an engineer, and 19 years training adults in the engineering sector, he is sharing his journey of pushing himself to the limit and what encourages him to keep learning in his career. Thank you Jason for sharing your thoughts with The Adult Learning Hub community!
The path of my life took me on a very different route, as a result of a road accident.
I had passed the 11+ at the age of 9 and was on track to achieve 12 'O' levels here in the UK. As a result of my road accident I spent 13 weeks with my left leg in plaster and missed all of the critical learning for my courses. I left school with a Physics and History equivalent grade C and that was my school life done. Or so I thought.
Since then, I have spent 23 years in the Royal Air Force fixing aeroplanes, I passed the aptitude tests for the RAF, including training to be a pilot, but had no qualifications to back it up. The last 6 years of my career have been spent as an instructor/facilitator.
Even though I had learnt to be an engineer and a teacher, I still had a nagging doubt as to my own capabilities. There were still questions left unanswered for me.
These questions started to come into greater focus when my wife turned round to me in 2012 and said 'Stop wondering get on and do it'...meaning finish my education.
Since then I have successful passed two GSCE's for English and Maths, and a level 5 PCET qualification (Cert Ed.). Perhaps one of my proudest accomplishments to date is gaining a first class honours degree in Education and Professional Development. In some ways, my motivation was to prove everyone wrong, especially those who had looked down on me for not having formal qualifications. Or maybe it was my own desire to provide myself wrong. That I, in fact, could go a lot further than I ever gave myself credit for.
I am now pursuing an MSc in Psychology and I feel I am in my element. I know learning is not all about qualifications, but for me, I am currently in the best place I have ever been professionally. I work at a college where my boss respects me and realizes my competence. I am becoming a writer and I am having an impact on others development at the college I work at.
My wife asked me recently why am I pushing so hard for success now when my working life is nearly over. My response is that I have never had the opportunity before to show truly what I am capable of. I truthfully don't know yet either, but I have a burning desire to find out.
When I completed my teaching qualification, I stepped away from a very well paid job and stepped into Further Education. This opened my eyes as to the teacher and person I had become and why I wanted to do this. I realised that I could empathise with my students after my own struggles with education and that I had the power to enlighten them to their own potential.
I firmly believe that I work in the superman of the educational system in the UK because, in a way, I feel we rescue and restore people's dreams. Without further education, my own dreams would never have come to fruition. We are all on a journey and my job is to bring my students back to theirs, and get them to realise that learning is a lifelong positive in their lives and that it should not stop.
I am a passionate educator, and firmly believe in Mandela's quote,
"Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world",
Learning has changed me and I want to make a difference for others. I think its vital to empower my students with the curiosity to investigate their journey and make it what they want it to be. My own curiosity still drives me to discover my limits. I am still very much on that journey. I still don't know how far I can go, yet I'm willing to push myself to the limit to see what my potential is and what results I can achieve.