As the first cars and heavy transport are heard outside,my mind alerts me from a lot mg slumber.From indolent pastures,I implore myself to mental activity.My thoughts turn to my day ahead,quite selfish really,but there you are.Today is the staples my surgery staples get taken out.Will they hurt?Can I expect a soreness?Will the scare heal?
All these questions,although valid don’t,in themselves,affect my life.They don’t stop my brain from functioning,or my heart from beating.So why ask them?To me,they are important,and so I write about them,and so I write to quote Zadie Smith “to stop myself from sleepwalking through life”.
Over the last two weeks,things have hurt ,they have been sore.Yes,as a man,it might appear that I protest too much,but I’ve had my fair share of pain and discomfort.Of course,the trade off for have these staples out will be greater mobility,greater control as it were.So,from enduring ten years of bowel disease,wth a consultant who thought that doesn’t nag nothng was the option,I find myself in this place now,a place where there could be forward movement for my health.
Of course,in the last ten years,life has taught me much,trained me in its own capsule of context as it were.When you can’t change something’s no,when your at the mercy of others,there can be a sickening resolution ,an emotional numbness to your fate that can produce a cycle where your the only loser as such.Having lived through that,and having control taken away ,I can say that it’s a tough gig,a real stress.But,without having gone through it ourselves,it is a purely academic thing and no one should expect any other.
This year,I said goodbye to over 22 years of working in one school.That has been a tough time.Almost a bereavement.Many cope with that in different ways.As teaching is now a completely profession since when I entered it in 1980,I realise that old dinosaurs like me might,in many ways,have had their day.Yes,I tried to be a dancing dinosaur with my pupil centred approach in school,but the allure of the pupil premium,the obsession with science and maths,at the total expense of the humanities and arts ,have taken their toll on many a good teacher.
In my final year of school,I saw the head of music retire early because of these frustrations,I then realised that the textiles and craft teacher would also take early retirement,and the writing was on the wall.This might be the state of my teaching life,but it’s not just an isolated incident.
Up and down this country,teachers are leaving,from newly qualified to highly talented and experienced.As the light of this day sheds its white embers on this new day,I wonder how they are doing.Teaching isn’t easy,it takes much out of you,and it demands much in return.Havng done other things in my life,sometimes manual work,other times work that can only be described as “work in a man’s environment”,I can honestly say that nothing is ,on the one hand as rewarding as teacher no,and nothing is as challenging.
So,its early I suppose,its way before the pulse of the working day clicks into drive,but my mind is ready to write.For decades,these times of the morning saw me already up and about in a bid to give my children a better life,and a chance from the poverty that I grew up in.Those were testing days,those were hard times in many ways,working three jobs for six days a week.It sort of takes it out of you.So,I know what it’s like to be a parent ,I really get that,and I know what it’s like to teach children who have had a bad start in life,and it was for those children that I went to work for,because many moons ago,teachers did that for me,they saw something in me,they saw beyond the poverty and deprivation and saw my essence.
So,as 6 o clock beckons,I write this in bed with my dogs around me and I smile.My smile isn’t a sarcastic one,or one tinged with irony,it’s that knowing no smile that says I’ve done what I set out to do.As I never knew my real father,I made parenthood up as I went along,I didn’t have a manual.Last night,as I sat in my lounge in a bit of pain,both of my sons took time out to ring me from different parts of the globe,and they said that they loved me.Both my sons make a positive contribution to the world,both make a difference in the world of research science and professional opera.For that,I have to be proud of.
I’m not sure in my later years wether I really wanted to be a dancing dinosaur teacher.Im not sure wether I truly bought the onset of the marketisation of education in my country.But I am who I am,and I have always been prepared to stand up and be counted,it’s my background,character call it what you will.
So,today,the stitches come out,and some of the feelings of my life have come out too.
Whatever stage you find yourself in,if your prepared to dance and keep your integrity then I wish you every success.If your not,then maybe prepare yourself for a bumpy ride,but you will be stronger for it.
Thank you for your attention to my blog today.