When the doctor says “2 more days away from everyone and salt baths for the blisters”, you can’t get much better then the deserted beach near your home and some paddling in warm waters. Find your blessings when life appears a struggle. You may be pleasantly surprised at the opportunities presented by difficulties.
I knew it would be a struggle, if not down right impossible, to write a post in the first week back to work. Readjusting to a new timetable, a reduction in the all important me time and the general malaise of February, it was bound to impact my ability to include any creative time. I also thought that after a week immersed in curriculum, professional development goals and new students, that my first post would be a reflection on career and aspirations. But no, even as I throw myself into this new academic year, full of hope and drive, I find that my deliberations are on my role as mum. Maybe I’m finally grasping that being a parent, is always going to be my number one, my first and foremost, even when I attempt to bring my job to the forefront.
Pinch, punch, first of the month.
What a way to start it, a super blood blue moon eclipse, a new school Term and a new health regime. What could possible go wrong? I actually have a problem with the word ‘regime’ for anything health related. Maybe too much time spent teaching 1984 and other dystopian literature, but it sets me thinking I will not succumb to it. This is never a good place to start mentally when you are attempting change or improvement. How about using the term ‘new health direction’? This has positive connotations and gives a sense of challenge and confidence. Much more appealing.
A very familiar sense of dread, started to creep into my Australia Day weekend, around about midday last Sunday. I knew immediately what this foreboding was. It has occurred at the same time for the past 12 years in my job, and for probably most of my time as a school student. That sinking feeling that comes with the end of a really long holiday, after spending lots of time outside, enjoying the summer. (Yes, this was even doable in Wales, the season does exist there). You try to avoid all the ‘Back to School’ advertisements in the futile hope that if you don’t acknowledge it, it won’t happen. But then you are struck down with this almighty blow; as what seemed an infinite amount of time last December, suddenly comes to an all too abrupt end. Continue reading “That sinking feeling”
Today is the day I release my blog. By that, I mean, share it with my friends, loved ones and acquaintances both here in Australia and also around the world. Where would we be without FB? The phenomenon that allows us to delight in the lives of others. Or cringe with shame at tagged pictures of the past. Or discover a new musician, recipe, way to gain one-upmanship on an unsuspecting work colleague. Although I have been writing and publishing for nearly the whole of January now, the pieces have only gained a relatively small following through the blogging community. I feel that now I have written a good small collection of posts, had wonderful support in preparing my site and encouraging feedback from the few who have read what I have written, I can now start to share and promote.
How do I feel now that my new venture is going public, so to speak? Well of course, nervous. When anyone creates something, and then puts it on display, they are going to generate a response. You know there will be positive and supportive reactions, but our natural precondition to expect the worst, thanks to our amygdala, will be preparing us for fight or flight. We unfortunately are living at a time when people are hijacking the ease with which we can share and obtain information, and are using it as a platform to harass, bully and persecute those they don’t know. Fear and lack of self-confidence along with jealousy lead many to abuse people who share ideas through social media. It is a sad state of affairs, and one that I am aware I am putting myself up for in writing on-line. When people used to read a book or newspaper article, and disagree, they would write a well articulated, well-edited, formal “right to reply” to an editor or publicist. Those days have unfortunately gone. But this shall not deter me.
As the last public holiday in January creeps up on us and we wonder where on earth did the month go, spare a thought to those teachers you know. Just as all the parents out there are excitedly packing the book list and celebrating the fact that they have “survived” 6 weeks with their children, these educators are nervously checking their class lists and wondering how they will make it through til Easter. Actually, I feel very fortunate to be in profession that affords me such great holidays – I work for them through – as well as being something I am so fiercely passionate about. But still, every teacher gets a sense of dread at this time of year. Will my classes be alright? In the context of Secondary School, I always try to get people to imagine putting 30 people together in a closed room, who don’t want to be there and, at times, can barely tolerate each other, then get them to be productive. You wouldn’t find it in any other work environment. Yes, it is a challenge, but it’s one truly dedicated teachers take up with gusto.
But I can also imagine the nervousness with which any parent send their beloved ones off to school, whether it be into pre-primary, the first year of Secondary School or the first year of external examinations. The pressure, due to an often too demanding curriculum along with the (anti) social structures brought on by mixing groups of people with a growing sense of self and incomplete brain development, is enormous. We must never underestimate how tough going to, and being at, school is for these young people. It isn’t a normal social construct. It calls for such discipline of mind and emotions, and then we add to this the duress to do well consistently. And not just well, but also better than others. When we think about it in these terms, we might be less demanding and more considerate of our young people within the education system.
As I was heading to bed last night, it suddenly struck me that tomorrow would be the last day in which I’d have any time to myself, until July. It was a horrifying realisation. It would be the last day that I had no work, no toddler and no Uni until the middle of Winter. I adore my baby, my job is great and I love studying, but I really cherish my ‘just me’ time. And I don’t get it often enough. So here I was, heading to bed, planning all the things I would do, for me, in that last precious 8am to 3pm slot I had coming up. Of course I had to tick off the Exercise, Rest, Create activities, my life savers that keep me well. A gym visit, some writing and the last episode of Broadchurch on I-view. Then there was the important process of maintaining relationships, so lunch with a friend I’ve been meaning to see since before Christmas. Retail therapy, something new to wear for the first day back at work. House work, some cleaning and food prep to make next week flow a bit smoother. School work, prepping for the start of the new academic year. The day seemed to be busting at the seams already. But I could make it work. I had to. It was my last chance to do all of this. The list was complete, I said a quick prayer for some sleep (the usual fruitless plea – “please let her sleep through”) and I lay down.