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New Life Lessons for Jamie Gibson

by Aiden McLaughlin -Republished from Outright 56

Life is full of lessons and now Jamie Gibson’s days revolve around them after a teammate of his had a lightbulb moment.

Gibson and his Wellington side were on an away trip to Dunedin to play Otago when a random conversation changed his outlook on the future.

“Ben Sears and I were just talking about life after cricket and what on earth are we going to do, and he just ran by me the idea of being a teacher, which is something I’d never, ever, thought of. Once he dropped that idea on me I got quite excited and thought about how it fitted my personality and that sort of stuff and it went from there,” says Gibson.

“Ben is a very honest guy so when he says something like that, you know that it’s sincere and genuine. He’s just very thoughtful and analytical so I’ve always trusted his opinion in all sorts of categories,” he says.

Gibson quickly engaged with his PD Manager Jo Murray who linked him up a Massey University representative who he could talk to about his ideas of study how it could work for him. Massey University have an arrangement where they try to be accommodating of athletes who are studying.

“I also applied for funding to get some support for me to do some papers, because when I began in 2021 I had to do an English Certificate, which was four university level papers, so I would be eligible to teach English as a subject at secondary school level. Jo was a huge help in arranging that process with Massey and how to go about it and so on. Jo was a huge support and always has been,” says Gibson.

In the following off-season he was a teacher aide at his old stomping ground at Wellington College and so he got used to playing and studying simultaneously and trying to improve as a cricketer whilst developing his future career plans.

“I enjoyed having the luxury of something that I got purpose from outside of cricket and I feel fortunate that both were happening simultaneously. I could study and prepare myself for life after cricket while I was playing cricket,” says Gibson.

The former Firebird is now in his first-year teaching English and Media Studies at Hutt Valley High School after completing his teaching qualifications in 2023.

“The intensity of being a teacher is something I’m still getting used to. The days are a lot busier than being a cricketer. There’s always stuff to do, so that’s taken some getting used to, but I’ve found it hugely fulfilling. Just like cricket there’s always things to improve on. I love English, I love literacy and helping kids develop their vocabulary and the ideas you get to talk about in an English classroom. I just love the subject and love having a laugh with the kids and building relationships with them. It’s a great job,” he says.

Gibson and his family moved to Wellington from Greytown when he was six months old and by the time he was at primary school, encouraged by his mother and father, he had picked up a cricket bat. He started making Wellington representative teams when he was 10 years old before attending Wellington College. However, his hunger to become a professional cricketer didn’t really eventuate until he was studying for his Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies in Dunedin. The all-rounder’s Ford Trophy debut came against Central Districts in 2015, followed by his first Plunket Shield outing against Canterbury the following year.

Gibson was able to experience cricket overseas, playing multiple seasons in Ireland, as well as England. But in May 2022, when he was at Waringstown Cricket Club in Belfast, he got news that would change his playing future.

“I guess I look back on it fortunately now, but unfortunately the decision [to stop playing cricket] was made for me. I got the call from Cricket Wellington who said that I wasn’t going to be receiving a contract. It took me four months or so to process I would say and definitely realise that I wanted to move on. It certainly took me some time just to process the disappointment and work my way through the emotions. Then I was really motivated to try to become a teacher instead. Now, looking back, I’m glad how it’s worked out as it’s got me in the classroom a bit sooner,” says Gibson.

Gibson knew he wanted to teach at a co-educational public school and when the opportunity came up at Hutt Valley High School, and he was successful in being appointed, he was able to start his new career on a full-time basis.

“I want to try and be an effective teacher and that’s all I’m focussed on at the moment, which is quite different to cricket, where it was quite easy to get caught up in selection and your own performance; there were just so many elements that were so easy to think about, whereas I think with teaching, I’m finding it quite a bit more straightforward in my head that it’s just about trying to be an effective teacher and that’s all.”



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