Bristol 4.3.19

Been offered an almost full time position doing cover at Orchard til the end of this term. I hummed and hahed about it knowing how tricky some of those classes can be but last week I feel like I found the right balance with those difficult boys. At last they have gt used to me and me to them. I think it might have helped by me giving them a motivational speech first lesson back after half term. It took me a good 5 minutes to get them all lined up and listening. “I’m sorry your teacher is off. I understand how frustrating it is for you and I don’t know why she is off or for how long (one boy shouted out “Is she dead?”) but what I want to make clear to you is that I am here to support you and help you as much as i possibly can. I am a qualified teacher and expect and want the best from you. This does also mean, though, that I expect you guys to put the work in too.” As I hoped, they were fully focussed on what I was saying and i’m prety sure they’ve bought in to it.

It’s a sad thing to say but it also helps when someone else does a worse job with them than I do. On my day off last week, a supply teacher hadn’t been able to control them. She couldn’t get them to listen to her and ended up calling them ‘fools’. She crossed the line. As much as it is unfortunate for her, it benefits me. Konrad, Mahad, etc were all like “Sir, where you bin?” “We had a terrible teacher yesterday.” “I like you now”. Praise indeed. No, it really is. I also wangled a but more money out of them too. Well, £10 extra a day. It’s something.

I have made an important discovery about myself. And it’s obvious. All that daily anxiety wondering what I must do next that’s been going out for years must have been as a result of the nature of proper teaching wherein I was unable to really ever properly relax because I was always planning the next lessons, the next assessment or thinking about all that marking that has to be done. There’s no letup apart from when I was on school holidays.

I’m sure this contributed to a state of mind which I’ve had for years where I would be prioritising all the mini jobs and events that were about to happen in the near future because this is what teaching makes you do – there’s so many countless things that you’re constantly having to do but which are constantly changing. An ever moving set of goalposts. I would get home and think right first I’ve got to put the washing on, then I’ve got to write to so and so and then I must remember to…and so on.

Just recently – I think – it’s stopped or maybe I just noticed it had stopped recently. I had a bit of a night of it on Friday. I felt ike I’d owned it at Orchard on Friday. That class, and even Harvey, I had somehow won round. It has taken 2 months but Friday seemed to be a breakthrough. So I celebrated. Alone of course. A couple of interviews on Stokes Croft – both ol’ Bristol crazies which got me even more in the mood for getting loaded. Had 2 pints there and a really good burger on Whiteladies, then all (of me) back to mine. White ladies. White lines. IPA. Music. Whisky.


So yesterday I woke with some trepidation the day after the day after the night before expecting myself to feel the fear of what was just around the corner. The times when simple decisions tie you up in knots, when the fear of Monday overshadows Sunday (this was always exacerbated by the fact I would have to plan my lessons on a Sunday – God, how I don’t miss it!). And it was so so great. The simplicity of knowing, realising that I don’t have to live in fear. ‘Fear is the mindkiller.’ Life can be easier with less responsibility and I’m just not thinking about the future right now. Who cares? I certainly don’t.

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