the rock stars of their day

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They wore their shirts, open at the neck

And smoked their pipes, stuffed with poppy seed,

The scarlet colour of those petals bleed

Into the vivid pictures that they made with words

While they drifted through a haze

Of opioids and stunning women on their arms.

They rocked a world that lived without

The Instagrams and Twitter feeds,

Rather wading through the reeds

And finding universes in the droplets

Found on yellow leaves in Windermere.

I’m teaching the Romantics at the moment and the students can sometimes just look at you like you are the most boring person in the world to find the words of some dead white guys anything but dull.

But they really were the rock stars of their day and I sometimes want to grab the students by the collar and shake some sense into them. These were the cool guys of their time. They were artists and eccentrics.

If Instagram existed when they were alive, I am sure that they would rival the numbers of followers that Beyonce and Lady Gaga have. I just wish that I could convince them. If only Wordsworth had left behind some selfies with some filters on. Then maybe I could have argued my case.

Much Love

Rachel xx

getting something back

I love a bit of tug of war

I give you some, you pay me back

In bubbles of our inner thoughts

That roll like marbles over desks,

Popping as they reach my feet

Ready to be held in hot and heavy hands

Eager for some payment in

The pockets of my humming mind.

I have always said that teaching the younger kids is my favourite. I like the way that their brains work and I love the innocence. And then, in truth, I have been a little bit scared of the older kids; like they’ll be able to see through me.

However, I’ve started teaching the older ones a bit more regularly and they are really growing on me. I’m starting to love the fact that I get a little something back from them, on an intellectual level.

It’s nice to see a class pulling apart a text and really enjoying that process and it’s really helped me to reignite my love of actually studying literature and not just reading it.

It has made me think a bit about what I get from teaching. Earlier this year, I liked the stories and the funny things they say but as my confidence has grown, I think I like to be challenged myself. It’s nice to open up debates and really delve into the themes. How times are a changin’ for me.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i feel a bit like i owe them

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There’s a massive debt

That hangs so heavily

Over my head

Like a storm cloud

Ready to open the floodgates

And let torrents run riot;

If only I had trust

In what I could be

This rain cloud would blow

Over and I

Could shine in the light.

I’m getting so nervous about starting my new job in July and I think a lot of the problem is down to the fact that I feel like they have only taken me on as a favour. I feel like I owe them for employing me.

However, I’ve been chatting with one of my colleagues in my placement school and she said I really need to stop thinking in that way. They must have seen something in me when I did my interview so I have something that they want.

I really need to shake off that feeling that I owe everyone some kind of debt of gratitude for wanting me in their life. I think most people would tell me to get lost if they didn’t want me around.

I do have something to offer to the world, as does everyone. I think it’s a really British thing to doubt our abilities and worry that we are just a burden on those around us. I think it’s really important that we all start to realise our worth and remember that if we get a job, we should be thankful, but also know that we were chosen for a reason and they should be glad to have such a fabulous person on their team!

Much Love

Rachel xx

i’d be a donkey so that i could ride jesus on me

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When words all muddle into muddy puddles

So that colours blend to make a brown

And nonsense pours from every mouth,

We blush and try to take it back

But sometimes it’s just best to think,

Let those neurons spark and light

And see the words in proper form,

Not showing naked ugliness,

But clothed in beauty such that makes

The crowds all stop and sigh

With something quite a lot like awe.

As a trainee English teacher, I’m obviously really passionate about writing and crafting words into the most beautiful shape possible. But I also have the chance to hear and read some of the worst use of words that you could possibly wish to stumble upon.

I find that a lot of the times when students make no sense at all, they know what they are trying to say but they have tried to rush it out quickly and it comes out as nonsense.

It can be quite funny to read but sometimes hearing it is just downright hilarious. I asked my tutor group what animal they would be and why and this kid answered that he wanted to be a donkey ‘so that I could ride Jesus on me.’

He just breezed over the sentence like it made perfect sense but the teacher and I were killing ourselves with laughter because he sounded like Yoda.

I absolutely love these slips of the tongues. There are always times when someone comes out and says something filthy to their boss or their parents and only register what they have said once it is out.

I think it’s a major problem with the wiring in our brains and if they were computers we would be taking them back to PC World straight away. I find it funny but I know it’s never quite so hilarious when it’s your own brain that’s malfunctioned.

Much Love

Rachel xx

returning to the known

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Those dusty corridors that occupied my mind

For months I tried to shake those lockers

Metal bending, warping with the memories

That once were sharp and rigid too

Holding all the information needed for

A smooth return to something so familiar

It’s like a dream that will recur

Several times a week, but then

There’s always ogres in the doorways

Ready for a gory pounce, to end that calm

That once immersed my body like the lake

That ripples as the water closes up

Over heads that thought they knew too much.

I’m going back to my first school placement tomorrow and I should be really excited because it’s familiar. But the familiar is actually scaring me a little bit. I thought that I was being ridiculous, but after speaking to the other trainees today, it seems that I’m not alone.

I though that going back to something that was known would be a breeze but I realise now that so many things are actually quite different, and that includes me. I’ve had to learn so much since Christmas so I bet I have learnt loads and really managed to put a lot of it into practice.

I think that I’m a bit worried that they will think I haven’t come on enough, but I must be doing OK because I got a job. I need to keep telling myself that these negative thoughts are possibly a load of rubbish.

We all need to be a bit nicer to ourselves and actually enjoy going back to see all the nice people who helped me during my first term. Wish me luck!

Much Love

Rachel xx

they saw a little sparkle

There was something there

When you wiped away the grime

That life had flung against her skin.

There was a little sparkle

That needed to get out.

So, I went for my interview yesterday. I had a tour of the school, did a written task, taught a class and then had a formal interview with the deputy head. This is not the kind of thing that sits well with me as it gives me a lot of time to say something really stupid.

And there were moments when I wavered. I have a bit of a twisty and turny route that I have taken to where I am and I got the feeling that the deputy was getting a bit judgey.

But apparently he quite liked that route that I took, because they pulled me into the office and said that they wanted to offer me the job. They were very open and said that they had already had a round of interviews with people that ‘on paper’ they had preferred, and none of them had made the cut. I was sloppy seconds (and I don’t blame them because my CV is awful), but given a chance I could actually shine through.

So, what a week. Last week I was propped up in the corner crying because I just felt like nobody wanted me, and just seven days later, I need to be scraped off the ceiling.

I know that there are still going to be many ups and downs to come, but I’m enjoying it up here on the ceiling for a couple of days.

Much Love

Rachel xx

has anyone ever slept through an interview

A bird upon a windowsill, tweeting,

Marking that the day has started

Long ago, and now you’re late.

That gentle light that through

The yonder window breaks,

It marks that it is ten o’clock

And Sleeping Beauty has slept through

And she groans in disbelief, realising

That she’s missed her interview!

Thankfully, my interview is tomorrow. Because if it had been today, I would have missed it. I somehow managed to sleep through three alarms and it was only the light coming through my open curtains that signaled to me that something was wrong.

I’ve done this before, as I am sure that everyone has. But the fact that I have an interview tomorrow and if that were to happen tomorrow I could kiss that opportunity goodbye, that gave me a bit of a scare.

It made me think of how badly an interview could go. I’m sure people have slept in and missed them before. Would you even bother going if you realised that you were half an hour late? And how long into an interview are you before you realise you’ve stuffed it up? I heard a story about somebody doing their driving test and they immediately backed into the test centre wall. Could you do the equivalent in an interview?

Let’s just hope that tomorrow starts off a bit better than today did.

Much Love

Rachel xx

and so we rise

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It’s quite the humbling experience,

That moment when we reach the bottom

Of a hole, a stack of cards or the whisky bottle,

But then the rise can be quite meteoric,

A red balloon swollen with a puff of helium,

Sending us in upward spirals quicker than

We ever thought that day we sat

Sobbing on a plastic chair with several kids

Peeping in and wondering why

Miss is crying. She’s a grown up, isn’t she?

It feels so nice, now I’m back,

But caution must be exercised

As red balloons can burst so easily,

Shriveled skins that float back down to earth,

Way too arrogant to fly too far away.

I was literally sobbing in a classroom just two days ago. My head did that thing where it runs away with itself and tells me that not only am I bad at my job, but also nobody likes me and I’m about as evil as you can get.

I felt like I was at rock bottom and even the following day I felt flat and washed out. But then today was great and it felt like Tuesday was just a distant memory.

It just goes to show how quickly we can forget, which is quite a skill. I’m still not sure if it makes us really clever or really stupid as a species, but today I’m quite thankful.

I do know that I have to keep these rises in mood in check though. It is definitely easy to get carried away and to end up getting so high you just pop. I’ve seen it quite a lot with people who are coming back from the dark place that alcohol can take us. People who feel too good, too quick and ultimately end up picking up the drink again.

We are human, and we are supposed to suffer. It’s part of the process. We’re allowed to have highs but we need to be ready for that pop. So my advice would be to enjoy responsibly.

Much Love

Rachel xx

oh, the shame

It makes my face burn hot, red with shame

As I peer through classroom doors

And see those shouts, the language too.

I didn’t bring them up this way,

To drag my name through sludgy mud

And make that dirt stick to my skin.

Now, I’ve just started my second teaching placement at the same school that my son goes to. He is in Year 11 so I’ve not seen him in lessons but I have been told by staff that he is ‘a lovely boy’. And I’m glad to hear that because I’d feel really let down if I knew he was misbehaving.

But there are some kids that I teach that have absolutely no respect for teachers, they refuse to open their books and get writing, they roll their eyes when you ask them to do something and they seem to think rules don’t apply to them.

I look at these kids and I wonder what their parents would think if they were to come in and watch a lesson. Would they actually care? And what do they teach their kids at home to make them think that their behaviour is acceptable in school?

I wonder if they would feel any shame? I would love to get them in for a lesson without their kids knowing just so they can see what we have to put up with. I wish that they could teach their kids some manners.

I’ll get off my soapbox now. But I am very angry after a day of being ignored by teenagers. God, I feel old!

Much Love

Rachel xx

you make me feel like i’m the only girl in the world

I literally feel, like there’s a great foam finger

And it hangs over my head, pointing me out,

‘Look at her, look at her, what a loser’.

Everyone else has got it together,

The camera’s on me, the lights are on me.

Anyone else feel like this? No? Just me?

I’m giving myself a freaking headache with this job situation and I’m worried that if I keep doing this to myself the desperation is just going to be leaking out of my pores.

I’m thinking of attaching a begging letter to my next application. ‘Just take me on! I have nothing to offer you, but I’m desperate!’ Honestly, I won’t do this, but it is very tempting.

I know in my heart that I have so much time, but I also wonder if there are whispers behind my back. I wonder if the others (who all have jobs) are pointing and laughing when I leave the room.

I need to snap out of this, but I’m also sure that this is as human as feeling jealous or having a crush on someone. That sense of desperation is something that we just have to live with. And I just need to think that when I get my job that sense of satisfaction will be all the sweeter because of that wait.

Much Love

Rachel xx