Somerset 6.10.18

Saturday morning. Consistent rain. A tortoise shell butterfly flutters against the window pane – I keep on mistaking it for raindrops. A low hooooing sound breathes down the chimney.

Start my daily routine. Banana porridge and a cup of tea. Sit down to check my emails. Nothing new. Check dating websites: Guardian Soulmates. Someone new might have viewed me who I’d liked or who I’d written to. Not often there’s a match and then how often does it work out? It’s like trying to win the jackpot on a fruit machine. Then move over to the ‘hand held device’ (can’t it just be a phone? No, because it’s way more than that now) where I scan through dozens more pictures of girls looking for a match. God, it suddenly seems like an insane world we live in. It is isn’t it? However I did find Gwenagain via this medium although I’m thinking of changing her name to Gwen Never. She seems to be reluctant to meet whenever I arrange something although she’s happy for me to join her on her cultural excursions. She has had a traumatic experience in the past so this might well explain a few things. I think we should be friends. She would be a good person to know – she’s a DJ on Ujima FM! Although I’ve been in Briz 3 years I don’t feel like I have that many friends: H, N, Nick and Agus, Lizzy and Beth. I am my own worst enemy – I reject people’s company and then complain when I get lonely.

So strange the surge of energy I’ve had going back weeks and weeks to the Summer – mid August at least – never really relenting, quieter sometimes in the mornings but picking up in the afternoons and often becoming more aggressive at night and then suddenly this week it’s gone _________________. Like a consistent barrelling sea of surf suddenly gone flat. I’ve almost been afraid to make a point of noticing it – I am now as I write it – in case in a heartbeat it rears up again in my chest. And now I think about it, I am a little jittery from listening to some dance music but it’s been a week of consistently normal sleep. Incredible especially as it has coincided with me starting supply teaching. Yes, I have had help at times -Paramol (paracetamol and dyhydracodeine) and diazepam but it hasn’t felt like I’ve had to rely on anything. Strangely, I’ve felt more tired in the day often falling asleep in the afternoons when I haven’t been working. Will it last? Don’t even think about it.

At last the supply has got under way.

Monday at Cotham, my local school, only a 10 minute walk away. Over half the students from non white backgrounds, mainly Somalian. Different from Taunton schools. Some trouble reading out the register “Abidajayar”, “Sumaaya”, and many students arriving expecting to be able to piss about. Some running in shouting, others from different classes walking in to take the piss but me laying down the law, giving my expectations and then on the main the classes generally running OK. Having to move people around to prevent disruption and putting names on board to deal with silly noises, not working, shouting out, etc. The normal. Half the problem seems to be the poor quality of the coverwork set so I see that I shall try to jazz it up for them a bit if I can: make them do presentations, quizzes, etc to test knowledge. I could also try to build relationships more by getting them to write down their names with a fact about them. Will this backfire? Quite possibly! Amazingly, though, I have felt pretty calm in this new life probably because there isn’t that weight of pressure to succeed that I put on myself or the fear of failure. Surely you can’t fail at being a supply teacher? Although I did get a complaint on the first day at Cotham because Noshy (what a name?) feinted and the parents felt I hadn’t dealt with it properly. To begin with I thought he was taking the piss when I saw him slide off his chair onto the floor and I was dealing with 2 other people who were wandering around the room. He came round and stood up and I sent him to the medical room. When he got back I also told him to get checked out by his GP because apparently he’d had concussion in a rugby match 2 days before. What more do his parents expect? for me to do an MRI scan in the classroom?

I think Monday I should start in ernest as it’s that time of year when teachers start falling by the wayside. So, bring it on.

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