It's the journey, not the destination
Adventure is a part of travel, even when the route is charted.
As many like-minded colleagues have commented, entering the Chartered Teacher programme is like starting on a journey. Although for me it started with a specific aim in mind, it soon became a journey of self reflection and personal discovery. As with any journey, if one knew what was round the next corner, one might not have undertaken it in the first place. However, part of the enjoyment has been the new found challenges along the way.
The starting point was taking the first step back into academic research. There was a sense of anticipation and trepidation which soon dissipated once I built momentum. Perhaps it was being one of the early cohorts undertaking the Masters in Education programme which gave the group camaraderie and friendships which have lasted to this day. Much of the discussion was a journey into cyber space and new work styles. Remember that this was in the formative stages of Facebook and GLOW etc. Looking back I'm amused to think that I was part of the changing technological landscape! It's a modern phenomenon to have friends who one has never actually met in the flesh, but only via the computer.
Along with this I had to reflect seriously on where I had come from and analyse my own professional learning and teaching styles. We benefited from many discussions with people who were detached from our immediate situations and could give unbiased and supportive advice. This in itself was innovative at the time and now, with the benefit of hindsight, I can see how fortunate I was to take up the challenge McCrone had set. The unexpected opportunities which have developed as I have travelled along the Chartered Teacher route have been exceptional.
It's been hard, particularly during the earlier modules, and at times very stressful - working full time and studying over a prolonged period. Along the way I have been fortunate to receive the support of many fellow travellers and colleagues in different schools. I've been touched by the support from all levels of the education system and from outwith teaching.
As many of the modules required classroom research projects, one of the many highlights on my original journey was the support of pupils who were the focus of my learning and teaching. Even at my lowest ebb there was always some pupil(s) encouraging me to take the next step just as I would hope that I have always done for them.
Although the Masters of Education and recognition of achieving Chartered Teacher status was the original goal, it is more like a significant étape on the continuing journey of professional reflection that all Chartered Teachers, I am confident, aspire to.