I’m an American-born teacher of English who grew up in Africa as a missionary kid. As an adult, I’ve taught in the US, Asia, Africa, South America and now the UK. To me, home isn’t a place; it’s where my family is. And to me, education is crucial for a life worth living. To me, everyone must receive an education, and it must be worth having, for how else will people have possibilities open to them, or have hope? I believe in equality for all, the importance of high expectations and no excuses, the value of hard work, and I believe that giving up is always a last resort, for there must be another way. Oh, and I believe that a fulfilling life–and a fulfilling education–can be fun!

My mother has always said to me: “Becca, no pain, no progress!” Her missionary mantra might be hyperbolic, but I argue that anything worth having takes effort. Here, I focus on reflecting on my teaching, practice and the questions I need to ask in order to keep teaching. It’s a tough life, this teaching business.

Of course, life is sometimes tough full stop. This is why occasionally my mother pours herself a glass of wine and says: “Becca, no pain, no progress. But sometimes, no pain…no pain!” Perhaps not missionary, but a sense of humour is also crucial when reflecting on a tough life.