i didn’t get the job and now i feel crushed

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It feels like wading through sludge,

Watching the others rise to dizzy heights

And not really knowing, where I am going

Or will I be safe, or will I be loved?

I had my interview today and they phoned me back to say that they weren’t hiring me. It feels like a punch to the stomach even though I know I did really well to get to the interview stage.

The problem is that everyone else on the course has had a job open up at their first school placement and I haven’t had that luck. And I know that really it is just bad luck that this has been the situation for me.

I’m trying to spend this evening thinking of all the good things I’ve achieved and all the reasons that they may have chosen someone else (and I have to remember how early on I am in my career and the fact that I may have been up against experienced teachers!)

My number one thing is that I might be realising that working in the same town that I live in might not be the greatest idea and in that respect I might have dodged a bullet. I’m tempted to start casting my net a bit further and trying the next town along. It will be nice to know that I’m not going to be seeing kids I teach when I’m doing my weekly shop.

I just need to remember for the time being that I didn’t get turned down because they hate me or they think that I’m a crap teacher. I will find a home and everything will work out just the way it’s meant to.

Much Love

Rachel xx

torn

I emailed the lady at my placement school to tell her that I have an interview on Tuesday and I got the feeling from her reply that she has reservations about the school and what the pupils and their behaviour is like.

I know that the school is in a bit of a dodgy area and I can imagine that a lot of the kids are quite ‘colourful’ characters. Furthermore, I’m quite meek and mild so I’m not sure that I’ll be up to the challenge of managing behaviour in a tough school. I get the impression that this teacher is worried for me rather than just trying to put a downer on my good news.

However, this has left me in a tricky situation. The interview is on Tuesday and they offer you the position by the end of the day, so there is a chance that I will need to make a decision straight away. We’re also in full lockdown and I will be doing a Zoom interview so I won’t get to have a look around beforehand.

I’m so unsure what to do! I haven’t even been offered an interview anywhere else so I don’t want to throw away the one that I have been given. Plus, you never know what opportunities might exist at this school. I might flourish and get the chance to rise up in a way I never could in a ‘nice’ school where people stay from thirty years.

I need to make some huge choices in a few days and I don’t have the information needed to make then properly. But then that is life, isn’t it? We sometimes just need to take the leap and hope for the best.

Much Love

Rachel xx

when you realise you’ve refreshed your emails twenty times in five minutes

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Refresh, refresh,

That little rounded curve, an arrow of the kindest hope

But really there is nothing that it offers

Other than the feeling of a broken heart.

All that comes up to the top is adverts

For a holiday at half price rate and dodgy pills

That claim to make my life all shiny new

And ready for the Instagram.

But as I press it once again, my heart will sink

As I know deep down that I’m not good enough,

That email will just never come.

I’m waiting for an email for a job that I applied for. I have seen that the interviews are on the first Monday back after half term, so I know that I really need to hear from them today for me to know that they’re giving me a shot.

So, like a good little anxious jelly bean, I have been sitting here refreshing my emails over and over and over. I have been in this state of unrest so many times before and I know that almost everyone in the world must be the same.

Gone are the days when there was one post that arrived in the morning, delivered by the friendly postman. Now we can get news at any time of the day or night and it is down to us to stay alert and watch out for it. Or that’s what it feels like, when you are waiting impatiently for the news.

Unfortunately, I have learnt to not get hopes up, so I’m not going to crush myself if this news never comes. It would be nice to know either way though. So, on that note, I’ll sign off and go back to refreshing my email every thirty seconds!

Much Love

Rachel xx

on the fly

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The plummet as you realise that

You’re not planned, not organised

And yet you’re being pushed on stage,

The audience waiting ravenously.

You have no choice, you must go on,

But words will stick to frozen tongues

As minds will race to find the path.

So I got up a bit late today and I sleepily logged into my emails with ten minutes to go before our tutor time was about to start. And there in my inbox was an email asking if I wanted to open the class as I was due to take it.

I thought that I was just sitting in and watching so, of course, I had nothing prepared. I felt my stomach drop as I wondered what the hell I was going to do. I even started typing out an email to say, no way was I going to take it because I had no idea I was supposed to. I also considered feigning illness and just not pitching up.

But then I did something different to my normal line of action. I decided to just have a go.

I quickly went into the file where all of the tutor activities are kept and pulled something out at random, opened the meeting and then just winged it.

And I think I got away with it.

Normally, I’d be curled up in a ball crying and this time I actually performed. It was far from perfect but the kids got some interaction and I didn’t look like a complete idiot.

So there you have it. Once again, I have proved myself wrong. I’m not useless and I can perform when the pressure is on. I won’t be making a habit of not preparing, but I know I have that skill if I should ever need it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the good bits outweigh the bad

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My arms stretched wide like cast iron scales,

The bad bits of this precious life

Will weigh down heavy on the left

But on the right I’ll drop the good,

The shining moments warming hearts

And there we’ll see the gracious pull

Of kindness, praise and little wins;

They’ll always weigh one hundred times

The weight of hate, of sneering lips,

Of whispered words that loving skips.

I had a double with a Year 7 class that I have never met today. I worry about the fact that I have never met these kids and that I’ll do them a disservice because I don’t know them.

These thoughts do weigh heavily on me and it is a crappy part of the job at the moment. But then something wonderful happens and it just totally outweighs anything bad.

I delivered my lesson and afterwards a girl emailed me to say that she really enjoyed it and she can’t wait to meet me in person. Can you believe that? An eleven year old sent me a sweet message full of emojis and lovely words.

I’ve never had a job where there is enough good stuff to outweigh the bad. In my last job, I literally had to scrape crap off the toilet floors. I would sometimes clean the toilets and be gagging because of the smell. Nothing could make that better.

I’ll always try to look for something good in every situation, but it’s really nice to not have to scratch around for that one thing. Today had its down sides, but on the whole, it made my heart feel warm.

Much Love

Rachel xx

it’s a sad, sad time

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The room’s in gentle darkened peace,

Sitting by the sole computer, buzzing

Loudly in a corner, when it should be

Drowned by teenage breaking voices,

Hurling dirty words and phrases, laughing

And learning how to be a human life.

They’re not here though,

And so that eerie silent quilt

Is thrown across the room, floating

Gently to a world we do not want.

I went into work today and it was the first time I’ve been in since last Monday when we still thought that there would be a small amount of normalcy. Now that we know that’s not going to happen, it all feels very different.

I sat in a room that was quiet and dark. The chairs that would normally be filled with students and voices that I once would have wanted to be quiet, they were empty.

As I sat at my computer in the eerie silence, I felt really sad for all of those students. I know that some of them must be having a terrible time and the place that they should be, is school. They need that sense of community and the support and encouragement of teachers.

But I also felt sorry for those very teachers. They didn’t sign up for this and yet they are all soldiering on. I know it’s nothing compared to what the wonderful NHS staff are putting up with, but it’s still lonely and sad. The best bits of teaching are those crazy interactions that make you laugh or cry or feel immense pride.

I looked across that classroom and my heart broke a little bit. I hope that things do get back to normal soon. We all need and it, and I don’t think anybody realised it until our world came crashing down.

Much Love

Rachel xx

and sometimes it’s nicest just to float

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Floating on a gust of wind that came

From nowhere and from somewhere we expected too

As we held a finger up to trace the way it came.

I tried in vain, to predict that surly wind,

To know what would be coming on

The future weather fronts to change

The course of where we blow tonight.

But sometimes we will need to stop

And let it push and pull as we

Let our bodies sag and sigh;

It can be fun, to let it go,

Control we thought we had to have

All our waking days.

I went back into school today because we were told that the schools will be open this term. We are now waiting for Boris to come on the news and tell us that things might be different as of tomorrow.

We all feel like we have lost control as I couldn’t even tell you what my work will look like in the morning, never mind what it might look like in a week or a month.

But as I sat in my classroom, unsure what to do, I just took a deep breath and decided to just see where we all land. I’m a student and I’m not responsible for what happens so there is no point in worrying. I have no control, so why even worry about hanging on for dear life?

I can still put my all into the work that I’m given and all of the tasks that I am given. But the headteacher is the person who is paid to deal with the big decisions.

And you know what? I actually felt quite happy. All that stress suddenly got turned on its head and that fear about the unknown became excitement about the adventure. There is danger and we are all worried, but I can have some fun and enjoy the variation of teaching online and uploading work.

If I can get through this then my NQT year is going to be a breeze.

Much Love

Rachel xx

hello, from the other side of the screen

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We talk through glass and try

So hard to teach a lesson on

The vagaries of love and hate

And all the in betweens.

Impossible, I think,

But that’s the age we’re in.

Anyone who has been reading along will know that I’m in my training year as an English teacher. The year started in September and so I have only ever experienced teaching in a pandemic world. However, that term has been done in the classroom and it has all felt as normal as it possibly can feel, given the circumstances.

I finished before Christmas feeling really pumped. And then I’ve been watching the news over the break and my heart has been sinking day by day. I want everyone to be safe and well but I’ve felt so sad and nervous knowing that the likelihood is that I’ll be teaching online this term.

The news has been steadily getting worse and worse and it’s now Sunday and I’m not entirely sure what will happen tomorrow. This is terrible for teachers and students and I don’t know what to feel about what I’m walking into.

I have been learning to swim with the current and not try and fight it so that is what I plan to do. I can’t control anything that happens and I just need to show enthusiasm and resilience as we all push forward.

However, as much as I’m telling myself it’s going to be OK and we’ll get the kids through another really turbulent year, I am thinking about how on earth we are supposed to teach online. I teach English and although it’s perfectly OK speaking through a screen, I do think so much will be lost.

English is full of discussion and feeling and I don’t understand how we’re meant to get all of the richness through in our lessons. I like to walk around and write on the board and ask questions and see facial expressions and I feel like I’m going to miss all of that and that makes me sad.

I guess it’s a learning curve for everyone and if I can get through this in my training year then it’ll all feel very easy as I get further into my career. This still doesn’t make me feel any less upset about the things we’ll all be losing out on this term.

Much Love

Rachel xx

and just like that, it was over

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When I was working at the Primary school during the summer the Year 6 students came in for a little leavers’ farewell. They were finishing their primary school journey in the middle of a pandemic and so the teachers wanted to give them the send off that they were owed.

They came in a couple of days before the end of the term to collect their certificates and say goodbye to each other. At the end of the afternoon, the teachers lined up in the car park and clapped for the students as they walked out for the last time.

I was working in Yr R and we had a little garden that overlooked the car park so we all went outside and clapped too. It was such a beautiful moment but it was the reaction of the class teacher that hit me the most.

He was standing by our garden fence and he hadn’t noticed that I was standing behind him. When he had finished clapping he turned and wiped a tear away from his red rimmed eyes. When he saw me he puffed up his chest and acted all manly. But, it was too late. I had seen his tears.

It made me heart melt and I knew then that teaching was going to be the most perfect career for me. To care so much, that a football loving, beer guzzling man is brought to tears; well, that’s a special thing.

I had that feeling myself today. It was the end of my first term and I’m moving on to my next placement. It’s been hard for everyone and my tutor group are Year 11 so they have had the hardest ride out of everyone.

As I watched them leave this afternoon, I remembered that teacher that I saw back in the summer. I had this wonderful sense of pride and a tinge of sadness.

Teaching really is the best job out there.

Much Love

Rachel xx

good impressions

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A blackened eye that shines from underneath

A thick and tacky sheen of make up

In the hope that they won’t notice

You are not in any shape to swim

In their pool and see the light,

You don’t belong and this is just the truth

Written on your tired and angry face.

Does anyone else always feel like they make the worst first impressions? I try my hardest but there is always something that goes wrong and it’s always just as I’m starting a new job and I want to put my best foot forward.

Today I had a transition day into my new school that I will be in for Term 2 of this year. Of course, I was given the last appointment that the dentist had before Christmas and it happened to fall last night.

She hammered away at my gums to get a stubborn tooth out and so this morning I woke up with a swollen face. Only one student said something to me about it but I had a feeling that the teachers were looking at me and wondering.

Back in 2018, when I started working in the petrol station, I took a tumble in my first week. I went out running and tripped. I put my arm out but still bashed my head hard enough to chip the eye socket. And then my arm ended up fracturing and my shoulder dislocated.

I had to take a week off work and the boss was furious. There was nothing I could do but it was just the worst luck ever. Whenever these things happen, it’s always on my first day or within the first week or two.

I’m hoping that my hamster face is the worst that I’ll come up against in this placement but I still have the whole two weeks over Christmas to do some damage! Stay safe people.

Much Love

Rachel xx