In 2012 my life changed. A bold opening statement I know, but it is true.
My dream had always been to become a teacher, I had it all mapped out. At 18 years old I went off to University to study my two favourite subjects, Business and English Studies, I knew I wanted to be a teacher but I still hadn’t made my mind up about the subject. If I had chosen to be an English teacher my life and my career might have taken a very different direction, but I didn’t, I opted to become a Business Studies teacher. I am passionate about this subject, I find it absolutely fascinating, I love that business as a subject is constantly changing and evolving, and for me this is exciting.
My teaching career started properly in 2008, rather than working in a secondary school, I found myself working at an FE college and I loved it. It is very different from a school environment, I loved that I got to teach across a range of business qualifications and that I got to teach adults as well as school leavers. So that was 2008, an exciting roller coaster ride of emotions, getting my dream job in education and then having to figure it all out. It was like learning a new language, the training might have been comprehensive, but nothing prepares you fully for your first year in teaching.
So what changed you might be wondering, how did I end up becoming Ava Kitsch?
It frustrates me that FE colleges get over looked by politicians, in my opinion an FE college is the dot between school and university, two educational institutions that are spoken about a lot. Further education has seen massive changes in recent years, funding cuts, increased competition from local schools with new sixth forms, the rise of apprenticeships, all of these factors and many more led to my dream job becoming a nightmare.
I couldn’t cope, restructuring, redundancies, 70 hour working weeks, a constant cycle of planning, marking and the pressure to perform left me feeling overwhelmed. In July 2012 I was made redundant and it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. The problem with working constantly is you never have any other perspective on life, I had worked so hard for so long and it was gone. For me this was what I had feared most, an uncertain future and losing the job I worked so to get. However instead of the utter devastation I imagined I was liberated.
I was left with one question:What’s next?
Between July and October 3 amazing things happened.
The first thing I did was set up my own business, Ava Kitsch Jewellery. I have always been creative, I love making things, I have found that my creativity helps my teaching but working so many hours a day had not left any room for creative pursuits. I had always made bits and pieces of jewellery in the past and I wanted to see if I could turn this hobby into a business and Ava Kitsch was born.
The next thing that happened to me was the opportunity to do some bookkeeping for a local bathroom showroom. They needed someone for about six weeks, that six weeks of bookkeeping saw my role slowly evolve into a part time finance and marketing manager. I love being able to work in an industry that is totally different from teaching.
The third thing was some teaching hours at another college that eventually turned into a permanent, part time teaching position.
I would never have guessed when I started teaching in 2008 that my life would become so different from how I planned. It is very different from full time teaching, and although I’m still working 70 hour weeks, I love the flexibility of all of my work roles and that they all complement each other. Over the last couple of years I have tried to manage my roles by compartmentalising everything, but it is hard work to keep everything separate. It is also difficult to sound authentic when you are only telling someone about a fraction of who you are.
So here is my confession, in reality Ava Kitsch is Sam Osmond and in no particular order, I am a business lecturer, a marketing and finance manager, a creative small business owner that loves to crochet. I run a few Facebook groups and pages to support local small businesses, sometimes working with the local council and with local business networking groups, I am also sometimes known as the Business Elf, but I will get to all that later.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.