Fundraising for teachers like me!

Matthew Sylvester, a teacher from the York and Scunthorpe area, is taking on a number of amazing challenges to raise money for us after seeing first-hand the support offered to teachers like him when they need someone most. 

Matthew tells us more about his career in teaching, how he caught the running bug and giving back to the charity that was there for him when he needed us.

Bringing back the love of teaching

“I got into teaching about 10 years ago, a few years before my son and daughter were born. I’m a primary teacher but I began to lose my love for teaching after going through a very stressful time in my personal life that would have impacted on anyone working, never mind a teacher. The pressure mounted and I made the very difficult decision to leave full-time teaching.Fundraising for teacher wellbeing

Then I started supply teaching, and even though it was another huge decision to make during a difficult period in my life, it was 100% the right one. It brought my love of teaching back.

Starting supply teaching was quite daunting and I didn’t always know what to expect when starting somewhere new.  But after a few months of supply teaching I really began to enjoy it. I’ve got to know some of the schools and staff really well, and some began to ask for me specifically when needing cover. I don’t think the schools knew it, but this boosted my confidence massively. It’s helped me remember why I started teaching.

I’ve really enjoyed the variety of supply teaching. I’ve had the opportunity to teach different year groups, some of which I’ve never taught in before. Year 2 is my favourite. It’s a great age as they’re like little sponges absorbing everything. I love to see them grow and they’re a joy to teach!

Teaching is hard work but I love it. You can’t beat seeing that “wow” moment when a child understands something for the first time.”

Keep on running

I did a bit of running at school, then not much until about five or six years ago when I signed up for the Great North Run which I loved. That race has such an amazing atmosphere with lots of fantastic support around the course.

Most recently I ran the Derby half ‘Ramathon’ which I completed in 1:36:35. I was a minute away from my personal best, but with the very hot conditions (and lots of high fiving) I'm very happy with my time.

The next race is another half - the Vale of York on 10th September. Then in October I tackle my second 26.2miler - The Yorkshire Marathon. I’m feeling prepared and have a history with this distance as it almost broke me before! This time it’s personal!

I’m doing some other runs too, there’s a 10K on bonfire night in York and I’m always looking out for other races that help keep me going and motivated.

I’m also planning a really exciting way of celebrating my 'special' birthday year by taking part in an Ultra Marathon in spring/summer 2018.

Running is now a massive part in my life and I’ve met so many wonderful and friendly people through it.

Giving something back

I first came across Education Support earlier this year and was so overwhelmed with the support they gave me. Carl was SO helpful – he seemed like he’d dealt with that sort of thing before, but was really compassionate, down to earth and just…normal. Everyone I’ve spoken to has been.

Fundraising for teacher wellbeing

After the support I received I wanted to give back. I’d not heard of Education Support before, but speaking with the team opened my eyes to what they do.

I’m not sure how much I’ll raise, but the more the better as I now know what funds can do for real people like me. I have business cards with my fundraising page on them (thanks to the amazing Sarah that made, cut and posted them to me) that really help. I’ve been giving them to everyone as I see them.

I’m really keen to raise as much as I can, and hope that other ‘Education Support-ers’ can get behind me. A donation of any size will be a big motivation for me as I approach my marathon and Ultra next year. You can truly make a big difference to help another teacher like me."One of the schools I was working at before the summer were really on board with my fundraising too. I put the cards in the staffroom and I’m hoping a few colleagues will sponsor me as a result which is great. A few schools I worked in also knew about Ed Support. They had the helpline poster displayed and the magazine in the staffroom. I know the charity will be there if my colleagues need them. 

How you can help

You can make a donation and leave a message of support for Matthew on his fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Matthew-Sylvester7

Thank you - you can make a difference to everyone working in education.