seeing your teacher in the supermarket frozen aisle

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She glides past the frozen pizzas

In her tracksuit pants and a messy bun,

No makeup to hide those darkened rings

Under her eyes, that I may have caused.

I never thought of her as human before,

That she may feel sad or have a boyfriend,

Or need to shop for food and brush her teeth,

All those things that we all do – she does too.

And as her Ugg boots swish-swished away,

I wished that I could say – ‘Miss!

You’re my favourite teacher, and now I realise

You’re a person too.

I did my first lunch time duty today. Having completed my first term, I now feel confident enough to add a few things to my week. I had been told that it’s important to take part in extra curricular activities so that you can build positive relationships with the students.

So today, I shut down my computer and joined the students outside on the playground. And it was a really nice experience because I got to see the students outside of an English class.

There was one boy who told me about a bereavement that he had been through recently and then at the other end of the spectrum there was one girl who wanted to show me her ukelele.

It reminded me of experiencing the sighting of a teacher in the supermarket when you were a kid. You would stare because this person was totally out of context. How could a teacher need to buy frozen chips and Pot Noodles? It was such a novel idea that it was almost ridiculous.

I hope that none of my students see me in sweats and Ugg boots, but it’s still nice to see them in their natural habitat.

Much Love

Rachel xx

stupid english language

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Those words that twist and turn,

Tricking us delightfully,

With there tomatoes over their

And always wondering

Wear I’d possibly where that dress.

The English language is a fucking mess.

I had a few classic comments from the students today and they tickled me so much so that I felt I had to share. They were unusual errors too; a little outside the normal wear and where confusion.

The first was in a conversation about what the Labour Party stood for. I was hoping for some comments about socialism but instead I got ‘Oh Miss, isn’t that the people who look after pregnant ladies.’ I had to take a deep breath and count to three.

My other one was when we were talking about the feud between the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet. We were looking at the connotations that come from the word ‘feud’ and we had spent five minutes talking about arguments and violence.

It was then that a student put up his hand and said ‘we could talk about eating.’ I asked him to elaborate as I wasn’t quite following and it soon became evident that he was talking about ‘food.’ I don’t know where he head must have been for all the time that we were talking about fighting?!

I thought that while I’m pulling my hair out and crying in the stationery cupboard, that might bring a smile to your face.

Much Love

Rachel xx

seeing my myself on screen

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It’s like an awful mirror,

Reflecting back the dreaded truth,

Exactly what I looked like

On that day when earth cracked open

And flames of hell were lapping at

My feet, burning soles

And warning me to change.

I just watched a scene on TV that made my toes curl. It depicted a woman being spoken to in a room, and she is alone with a HR person. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that she is an alcoholic and she is in the room because she has done something wrong.

While I was drinking I kept finding myself in that room and wondering why I was there again. I genuinely thought that the world was conspiring against me and it had nothing to do with my behaviour.

And the funny thing is, since I stopped drinking five years ago, I’ve not found myself in one of those situations. Sure, things have gone wrong at work, but they have not spiraled in the way that they used to.

The thing that pushed me to write this wasn’t to talk about how horrible that time was, but to bring up how uncomfortable it is to watch it played back on screen. It was horrible to see it in all its cringey detail.

I think that sometimes we need to be reminded of our errors and feel all that discomfort as a way to remind us not to go back. However, that was a scarily accurate representation of what happened in that final meeting that nearly killed me… and reliving your most shameful moment is never a pleasant experience.

Much Love

Rachel xx

this post is sponsored

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I chose to sell my soul

To the corporate devil for

Just some pennies in my pocket

To buy from other people in

A world that only wants to sell.

So sell I will,

Regardless of that little pain

Lodged deep somewhere in my heart,

A sign that I’ve become a clone like them.

Disclosure: this post isn’t actually sponsored by anyone; but it sometimes feels like I’m the only person in the world not doing that.

I watch a lot of Youtube and it sometimes feels like every video I watch is interrupted midway, not by a regular advert, but by the creator peddling something.

This isn’t a post to bash people who have sponsors because how else are creatives supposed to make a living? If I’m being honest, I’d quite like to have a company contact me and say that they’ll pay me to do what I love. Who wouldn’t?

However, as a teacher and a mother to a teenager it does make me worried about how companies sell to people these days. Teenagers are bombarded with marketing and I think that half the time they don’t even know that it’s happening.

I think that eventually there will be subliminal messages sent to us in our sleep and we will all feel a compulsion to go out and order Hello Fresh and set up a Square Space website while also learning how to draw a duck on Skill Share. I dread the day…

Much Love

Rachel xx

I need to see the world through their eyes

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I need to remember that feeling

When nobody understands

And everyone asks

Yet you cannot say

Because you don’t even know.

I get so frustrated with my 15 year old students because I always think that they are rude and unreasonable. They don’t behave and then when they do badly in an assessment they blame me. Quite frankly, they are insufferable.

However, I just watched a programme that followed a girl in high school and I was reminded that teenagers have really complicated lives these days. There was so much texting in this show that even I couldn’t follow it, so how teenagers keep up with all those messages, I’ll never know.

And then I need to remember that their little brains are processing all these crazy feelings for the first time. As an adult, I spent a decade of my life drinking copious amounts of vodka to get rid of those feelings so I can’t really get angry at them.

Kids have a bloody difficult time now and perhaps it’s me, the grown up, that needs to hold onto that thought.

Much Love

Rachel xx

decorating the office for christmas

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Tacky foil in six foot garlands

Strung across the room, as Ruby clambers

On the table, taping them to ceiling tiles.

While Antony scrolls aimlessly

Through Christmas tracks looking for Mariah,

Sarah props the broken tree in between the stacks

Of aging books from dusty corners of

The storeroom no one’s been in for a year.

It’s all a cobbled mess of baubles and

Of tinsel from the 1980s but, we love

The cosy feel that comes with festive vibes.

We decorated the office for Christmas the other day and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. There is something about everyone coming together to put up the tackiest decorations known to man that is so heart warming.

I think that a big part of my love for it comes down to being an only child and not having all that hustle and bustle that comes with lots of people putting up the tinsel. I always remember mum wanting the perfect tree and she would do it all herself. There would be no arguments or people tripping over one another. It was just quiet and ordered.

I really enjoyed watching my new colleagues fighting with one another and bickering over music and trying desperately to stand up a tree with no legs (using a box of Romeo and Juliet texts). I felt like I was part of one of those warm and friendly families that you see on the TV and I really liked it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the boss lady

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She strides in through the glassy doors,

Stripper heels and skirts so short that clients

Cannot help but take a second glance, the hope

That maybe they can get a little bit of that.

But she’s untouchable, it’s all for show,

That bleach blonde hair and lips in killer red,

The outfits made in neon green and violent blue,

They’re just for her and not for you.

She knows exactly what she’s doing, what she wants,

It’s money and it’s power that the housewives

Of the 1920s dreamed on their sunny afternoons,

Hoping for a day when they could be the lady boss,

But look how long it took; look at what it cost.

I’m sure I’m not the only one bingeing on Selling Sunset at the moment. The series follows a group of women who sell houses to billionaires in LA; and it’s compulsive watching.

But, it’s the power of these women that fascinates me. We talk about women still being weak and it’s true that there are mot enough women in the boardroom, but this show does paint a different picture.

I don’t think I’d ever want to be those women on the show; the maintenance required to look like that and behave like that must be immense. However, I sometimes dream of being one of them, just for a day. To be that beautiful, that confident and that rich would feel a bit like being in a fairytale.

I just couldn’t keep that up so I think I’ll just stick with the teaching and leave all that money to the professionals!

Much Love

Rachel xx

i think i’ve ‘made it’ in my first term

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When my son was in primary school we always used to get cute little gifts for the teacher to tell her how wonderful she had been over the course of the year.

Whenever I packed him off to school with these gifts I would wonder what the teacher would feel when she unwrapped it. I wondered how special it must feel to open something that was personalised and showed that we were really appreciative.

I knew going into a secondary school setting that gifts would be few and far between so I never really expected any of those cute presents. But today, I got my first one and my little heart almost burst with love.

A student came into my room and handed me a gift bag for Christmas. Inside there were candles and a wooden heart that was personalised with my name and a message about me being an awesome teacher.

As I’m nearing the end of my first term as a ‘proper’ teacher, I’m realising that I spend most of my time questioning myself and wondering if my students actually like me and respect me. It’s been rewarding but it’s also been hard, and let’s face it, a little bit scary too. The whole thing has made me take a good look at myself and think about the way I react to people.

So, it’s nice to know that at least one student has had a positive term and a positive experience because I have been there. When I first got sober I was told to make sure that people feel glad for my being in their life that day; even if it was just that I said hello and asked how they were.

Now I’ve just got to work on those Year 10s who flippin’ well hate me. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all!

Much Love

Rachel xx

the teacher’s christmas party

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As the kids all slowly pack their bags

We look at watches, impatiently

Knowing wine is chilling in the staff room fridge

And party games can soon begin.

Those kids that think we live here in

The dark and gloomy halls and rooms,

Waiting for their slow return, like life outside

Does not exist for those who choose to teach.

But soon those students dawdle out

And so the merriment begins, with sherry and

A Christmas roast in gastro pubs unfrequented

By the teenage girls and boys who terrorize us

During all our working days, but now

We can be humans, sing and dance and shout

(In jest, rather than through tears of dark frustration).

And over flicking candlelight we talk of kids

Who ruin days and sleepless nights,

And with the wine they melt away like nasty dreams,

Only finding us again when we wake up, mouth dry,

Headache gripped and belly turning in the early light,

Promising ourselves we’ll never go that far again.

That is until on Monday morning when

The bell is ringing and the kids are streaming in.

you’re pretty good at writing, miss.

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There is this kid in one of my classes who just makes me smile so much. He’s super naughty but in a really cheeky kind of way, and for that reason, I have a bit of a soft spot for him.

He’s a little bit chubby, so he has this round, cherubic face that looks at me all innocent and wide eyed whenever I have to tell him off. And half the time I don’t think he has a clue what I’m talking about which makes it really hard for me keep a straight face.

Today I was writing a shared paragraph with the class. I had my paper under the visualiser so that the class could see what I was writing up on the board. I finished the paragraph and then looked up to see this kid staring at me.

He just shook his head and said, ‘you know, you’re pretty good at writing, miss. You should write a book’. He then paused before adding ‘I’d read it if I understood anything you write – those words you use are so long’.

There was another pause as I smiled and basked in glory before he added ‘and if you do write a book I could flog it on Facebook for you’.

Thank you, that means a lot to me.

Much Love

Rachel xx