Well, that was quick! Summer’s gone, and that can only mean one thing for teachers. OK, 2 things. First, we don’t have to hear one more wit making reference to the length of our holidays until next July. Honestly, do these people write to their expensively assembled Premier League teams they support implying footballers should train at least 9-5 every day to earn their £80,000 a week? No, but they still buy the XXXL replica shirts, don’t they? But I digress. The second thing is that, after a month of being redundant, lost specimens, like fish in search of a bowl, we teachers at last have a purpose in life!
See, being in a school is a bit like being in prison, just without the Sky TV and fewer drugs than prison. You get institutionalised, and it takes a long while to adjust to being on the outside again when the holidays come. Rediscovering that, in fact, it is possible to sleep at night is a particular annual treat which for me has lasted a full 2 weeks of August. I can see why regular sleepers enjoy it.
I look forward to the start of term – not hearing the latest buzzwords management have heard on courses and parrot back to us, and not the unparalleled joy of the first INSET day back where you have the twin delights of innumerable conversations asking if you went anywhere nice and listening to management read out PowerPoints to us for an hour or so. None of us find this patronising in any way, of course. After all, as with any job you grow skilled at tuning in and out to the bits you know are relevant to you and can let your mind drift for the rest. PowerPoint Meditation, as I call it.
I look forward to the kids coming back – the new ones, the old ones, the characters, the thinkers, the gigglers, the quiet grafters and the cheery sparklers. It’s why I do the job – certainly isn’t for the money, which currently has me wondering if my cat’s food really has meaty chunks as delicious as the labelling claims as a Sunday lunch alternative – and always has been.
As parents, you may be anxious if your child is starting a new school. Don’t worry. The teachers will look after them for you, and when we’re not about, their friends will often do a fantastic job at getting them through the day. It’s a team effort. Parents, teachers, pupils and friends will help get each other through the day. I’ve propped up loads of kids for whom getting through the day without crying through sheer exhaustion due to their troubles or illnesses was an achievement, and plenty of times when I’ve been exhausted myself, the kids will keep me laughing and smiling enough to keep me at my best for them too.
I’m buzzing for the new year, looking forward to seeing lots of great people again, hoping that come July, every one of my new batch will be feeling very, very proud and confident in themselves. Good luck, parents, teachers and kids everywhere!