Moving house in a week and there are still papers to be signed, working full time, stressed other half, bouncing kids and chaos everywhere.
Teachers, I think, are superhuman. Our average day contains so much drama, attitude, wonderment; moments of sheer joy, other moments of the opposite, work work work; kids who have the capacity to amaze/drive you nuts/make you laugh… So much happens in a single day of teaching. I’d forgotten how wonderful and what hard work it is, in equal measures. Anyone who thinks it’s a breeze or that we get too long a holiday should come and spend a day in an average secondary school classroom. Teenagers are fascinating. I sometimes feel like a David Attenborough of the educational world, as I narrate what’s happening around me, in my internal voice.
As I’m driving to work, the writing ideas keep on coming. But as soon as I get to school I hit the ground running and don’t stop and I’m lucky if the ideas stay there to be written down. Whilst I’m walking around school, to get books/photocopies/my caffeine drip/a form/find a particular person, the ideas keep coming. Ditto catching them.
I find stray sentences and random bits of description floating into my head, constantly. I try to describe the shape of a face, or a smell, or a memory; a meal, love, loss. I try to put the deep sadness I’m feeling about certain things at the moment into words. I try to describe the joy and the excitement of the imminent house move with inadequate adjectives.
And I realise, I’ve done this all my life. I can remember being a child and the inner narration rambling about, giving me these sentences and ideas. Not a voice; it’s definitely my imagination, and it’s been doing this since I was small. Being able to capture these wild imaginings and write them down and see them in print is one of the great joys of my life. Knowing how a story started – with a flicker of an idea, a spark of a story – and then seeing it in print, in a format that’s going to be read by 150,000 people, or even just a few hundred – or, hell, nobody at all – just seeing it in print, in the flesh, REAL, is amazing. Just amazing. How lucky am I, that my dreams are coming true like this.
However, I am too much a depressive and too lazy to be alone in the house for too long. I got as far with my writing dream as I could for now, then the black cloud came and settled on me – since going back to work I’ve had not a moment of grey. Teaching is, if nothing else, immensely colourful. We walk rainbows through our days and orchestrate kids as if they are pieces of music. Some off-key, some perfectly in tune and all unique. Some days are just pure dead mental. Some days are bloody awful. And some days are incredible. 167 kids walk through my classroom doors every week – some for one lesson, some for four. That’s 167 personalities and problems, peers and pressures. 167 hellos. Teenagers can be demanding and difficult and they can be incredibly inspiring. Knowing you’ve helped them understand something/improve/think/write well – best feeling ever.
I’ve not written a thing since I started. I can’t. But once I go part time, I’ll be back, at 90 miles an hour.
Meanwhile this is most definitely becoming packing avoidance. 45 boxes down, about 100 to go…
The house looks like we tipped it upside down, poured half of it into boxes, shoogled the rest about, and then put it back.
The weirdest thing about all of this is how calm I am. I feel like the eye at the centre of the storm. So much has happened lately and I’ve been far too dramatic in my moods for far too long and let the stress get to me. I decided for my health’s sake (lest the cancer or that beautifully-named bastard Graves Disease come back) to make a massive effort to be calm about life. It’s hard, conducting hormonally charged kids, parenting my own pre-tweens, packing up ten years of cluttered life and trying not to snap at my increasingly stressed hubby. It’ll all pass. I breathe, shake it off, Tayloresque-style, and bring the calm back. It’s SUCH a good feeling.
At 46 I feel like I’ve finally become who I was meant to be. It was pretty painful to get here, but here I am anyway.