Bloody IT Department

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I know it’s really not fair to pick

On the department that bears the brunt of all

Our disgruntled grumbles and our emotional calls

When that useless lump of plastic that sits on our desk

Won’t do exactly what we ask of it,

And we spew out out a torrent of angry expletives

We wish we could call back, forget their existence,

But still we’d remember the heart wrenching moments

When Word wouldn’t open and spreadsheets didn’t save,

Because when have the computers ever behaved?

So, I’m going through the inevitable IT teething problems that always come with a new job. I am on my third day and I think that I’ve just about got the most important bits sorted, but there have been a few moments when I thought that something may be launched at my screen.

I am making it my mission to be nice to the IT department though. If people get as worked up as I do, I am sure that they get the most abuse out of all the departments in any school, hospital or business in the world.

I mean, really; they must be harassed by angry people all day long. People just thrusting their laptops in front of them and demanding that they fix everything.

So my lesson to you today is to be nice to your IT department. They must put up with enough without you and me making their day any worse.

Much Love

Rachel xx

working hard for your approval

It’s a little bit like a hamster wheel,

The harder I run, the less I achieve.

I’m trying hard, that’s for sure,

A perma-smile plastered across my face

Each time I step inside,

Doing a little dance (and a song) for your approval.

But I could give you the moon on a stick

And I still think that we’d be here,

Staring at me with the evil eye,

Because I just can’t give you enough.

I’ve realised as I approach the final few days in my training school, that it’s really hard to win the approval of some classes. And I think that age really plays a huge part. You get into a class of Year 7’s and they take to you after half an hour. But the Year 10’s are a whole different kettle of fish.

That class are all around 15 and they are bright kids. And they can quite clearly see right through me. They know that I’m a student and that I’m still finding my feet and they are quite happy to point out all of my weaknesses.

It’s fine. I’m prepared for it. But it has taught me that the older years will hold me to account. I will have to work for their respect. But how much better will that relationship be when I have earned that respect? I think that it’ll be worth every ounce of the blood, sweat and tears that has gone into forming it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the corner office dream

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Working hours that did not once exist,

As minutes tick and stars come out

And cleaners creep out from the lifts

With dusters and their Henry Hoovers

Ready to work through the night, but so are you.

That big promotion seemed enticing

When they dangled money bags, the promise of

The car, the house out in the ‘burbs.

But are you really loving this?

The view from thirty floors up there,

An office in the corner, views across the park,

The one they all fought for,

The one that you did win

Doesn’t seem enticing now,

More a prison, less a gift.

I have never really had a proper job before, so I’ve never really had the opportunity to fight for a corner office. However, I know from watching lots of movies that this is supposed to be the dream.

When I start my job properly in September, I will have a room of my own which feels like my equivalent to the corner office. I feel like I am absolutely winning at life!

I know that I’ll probably moaning that it’s too cold in winter and like a sauna in the summer. I’ll probably be complaining that it’s the only four walls I seem to see while I’m awake. I’ll be just like that account manager or company director that got the corner office and then saw it as a prison.

I’m excited, but I need to remember that the classroom I’m given isn’t my new home. I’m still entitled to a life outside that room.

Much Love

Rachel xx

career advice for dummies

Apply, apply,

Type your life into databases,

Fill the spaces with your name, your date of birth,

Attend those interviews.

It won’t be you that sits and talks

For hours all about your strongest bits.

The real you sits so quietly,

Withering within your skin,

But you know promotion is

The way to make yourself a worthy one.

Without that money, without that status

What’s the fucking point?

We are entering our last week in our placement school, so we were given a talk this morning about career progression and what to expect as a teacher. The talk was given by our deputy head who is moving onto a headship in another school in September.

This guy is a legend in the school and respected by everyone. I would love to be like him, but as I sat and listened, I realised that I still have to be so careful.

I’m one of those people that can really ‘lose it’ if I get too stressed and yet it is still so easy for me to get carried away. It sounded so exciting, the idea of climbing the ladder and doubling my salary, but I always need to consider the cost.

This teacher did remind us that it was also important to just go with the flow, which I like. Letting go and just allowing life to take me is what I want to do. I sometimes feel like I’ll just float into the places and positions that I’m supposed to be in.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i am officially a qualified teacher!!!

My little book of teaching notes has served me well!

It has taken a hell of a lot of blood, sweat and tears but I have done it and I am now a qualified teacher!

When I was in the midst of my drinking, I did have this little dream that one day I would be a teacher, but I couldn’t hold myself together for long enough to do it properly, to give myself a fair chance.

Alcohol, for me, was a medicine. But it was a medicine with terrible side effects. I needed it to ease my racing thoughts and nerves that made me sick. But it left my relationships in tatters. Employers couldn’t understand why this overly happy person would suddenly break down and need three weeks off. I just couldn’t be consistent.

I’m still a ball of nervous energy, but I know how to take a deep breath and ride the wave these days.

This next year is going to be the toughest yet and I know that I’m going to be tested even harder. But I’m looking forward to the challenge. Life isn’t amazing and perfect, but it is the life of my wildest dreams.

Much Love

Rachel xx

parent’s evening

Tables clamoured round a a hall that stood

Empty several hours back, when basketball was done

And the squeaks of students trainers fade

Into a maze of darkened hallways where

The teachers lingered til the sun had set.

And with those cups of steaming tea and snacks

All squirreled under fold out desks they sit

With elbows propping up their weary heads,

Watching as the parents walk, circulating,

Searching desperately for names on tags,

Names they’ve heard so many times before,

But never seen a face to match.

And when they sit the teachers sigh and run theur eye

Over numbers spilling out of books.

I studied English, is what they think

As they rattle through the data sheets.

I wish I were at home, they think,

Warm, with wine and box sets on the telly,

Not cold and lost, in a draughty hall

With parents wanting nothing more than for you to call

Their precious child an Einstein of some sorts.

It’s parents’ evening today and I’m nervous. I absolutely hate the thought of it because all parents see their children as little angels and, quite frankly, they are not!

I’m just going to go and buy and a load of chocolate and whenever anything bad happens, I can just have a square. I can really understand why teachers are in danger of becoming overweight or alcoholics or both.

One thing that I am really thankful for is the fact that the parents’ evenings are now online so nobody can reach across a table and punch me. Wish me luck.

Much Love

Rachel xx

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