Posted by: Natalie | February 15, 2010

Half Time

The deal was I took one year off. From September to September.

Now, if I was still in teaching full time, this day would be the first in my February half term. I would ordinarily sleep in late, watch tv in my PJs until late into the afternoon, maybe grab a shower if I was feeling adventurous, then resume my seat on the sofa until my boy came home. As it is, it is not my half term. I am not mourning this as I can do this everyday if I so choose, and some days I do choose this!

But it suddenly dawned on me. I always find the spring term the hardest – you get to work in the dark, you leave in the dark; the weeks in which to move your class on are limited, meaning you have to move them quicker; the rain keeps the kids inside; the bitchyness is at its hottest; you are basically driving yourself insane counting all the millions of things you still haven’t done. This week was a Godsend. But, the main reason I relished this week so much was because it was HALF WAY through the school year. It was the turning point; the time when all the hard work started kicking in, the road seemed down hill with the end just lingering in the distance.

Sadly though, this most precious of slumber weeks in the Calendar according to Nat, has a very different feel – for more reasons than one. Aside from the obvious unnecessary need of a week of sleep, the horror dawned on me this morning that I am half way through my year off. This thought has rocked me something rotten. I realised that before too long I will have to start applying for full time jobs. The chance of me picking up an Agent before the summer is incredibly slim and I will have a whole new set of bills and mortgage payments waiting for me come September. I will have to be earning. I will have to go back into teaching.

This has knocked me sick. I feel panicked about going back into school full time – I’m not ready. Stress was killing me last year, but not from the actual job. I love teaching, I am good at it! I work hard and I get the results I need, but something else was breaking me. I don’t complain about the pay (we are paid bloody well I think) and the holidays we get are wonderful (aside from the obvious financial costs of actually going on holiday in these breaks), but during term time, I have no life.

This, you may argue, is my own doing – and to some extent I would agree with you. But as a female, and from my experience, your brain simply cannot focus on ANYTHING else. This is no exaggeration. For the entirety of term time, and for the vast majority of our breaks, my mind was solely occupied. I was thinking and worrying about things every waking AND sleeping moment. Sunday nights I couldn’t sleep because I was running through all the things I still hadn’t done before Monday. I was permanently exhausted to  the point where I was unable to communicate in anyway of an evening. Those nights I did, I usually ended up causing an argument. I was miserable.

Things were not helped by feeling like I was back in secondary school the whole time. It is incredible to comprehend that we never grow out of it, cliques still run the show and if you are not part of the crowd, you are made to feel isolated and alone. Whether this is a construct of my own thinking or actual reality, it still piled on the additional pressure at work. I was ‘Mr Cellophane’. I felt ignored, undermined and alone. I can probably attribute this to my being a little bit of  a control freak – I was a mere minion without the ability to break free. I was back in secondary school, I was back to not quite fitting in anywhere. Melodramatic? maybe.

But, regardless of how or why these feelings built in me, I have one firm belief – no one, and I mean NO ONE, has the right to make a person feel insignificant. I work damn hard at anything that is thrown at me and I don’t deserve to feel so low about something I love doing. This is why I needed a break, I had to regain the things that I had lost. The bonus was I could write my books. As much as this had been an ambition, I never had the strength, time or energy to realise it as an extra.

So what do I do? Well, I’m not sure really. I’m not sure I want to go back into that world, not yet. I want to be an author, so very very much. I am currently doing a little supply work here and there to keep the funds ticking over and this is great! I get to do the part of the teaching job I am addicted to so much, without the hassle of being sucked into the insanity of the regime. But how to I keep the life to which I have become accustomed? The poverty doesn’t bother me too much, as long as I can run my car and pay for food I am happy. But, houses don’t run cheap!! Maybe a bank job?!



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