could i have done it before?

clear glass heart shaped ornament
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Feeling a bit fragile with cracks forming fast,

Would I be able to seal them all up

With inadequate glue sticks and duct tape for strength?

But everyone sees that breaks that afflict

And so it’s quite easy for them to unpick.

Now I have tools, and suitable glue,

Delicate resin to hide the fine cracks,

Keeping me strong in pressurized times,

Getting back up, when life hits me hard.

When I was in my twenties I tried several times to climb the slippery corporate ladder – and quite unsurprisingly, I failed quite badly. And it was because I was too wobbly and fragile. I couldn’t handle the knocks that came with the added responsibility.

I did my teacher training because I felt that I had been sober for long enough and I had had enough therapy. I’m still wobbling all over the place and, if you read my post on Monday, you will know that I still cry (probably a little too much).

I do sometimes wonder if I could have done all of this any earlier in my life. I feel like the answer would probably be ‘no’.

Yesterday, I had an awesome conversation with the Head of House and today I had a great lesson with the problematic class. I know that come Friday something else will have knocked me and I’ll have to go about picking myself up again.

But I can pick myself up these days. And I can hold that in my mind, that the dark bits of life will pass.

I hope you have had a lovely day, and if you haven’t, I hope that this post has given you a little bit of hope.

Much Love

Rachel xx

PS I had a fourteen year old tell me to go f**k myself this morning, so today was still far from perfect – but I’m holding onto the wins.

is anyone doing any parenting?

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They are your bloody responsibility,

You brought them into the world

And they hang like a black cloud

In an atmosphere already choked

With a negative chill, pulling us all

Down to a place where we grovel in dirt.

Teach them some manners, some kindness,

Compassion and love for the rest of the world.

I have spent another afternoon crying at my desk because some cocky fifteen year olds seem to think that they know everything. They are really vile to me and I have heard from other teachers that it is not just me. My question is: what the flipping hell are the parents doing?

If your child has reached Year 10 and they are that rude and arrogant, are you doing anything to stem the problem? I would be devastated to know that my son was making teachers question their competence when he’s the one being disruptive.

And when I have phoned parents they say ‘oh, he can’t do a detention on Tuesday because he has football on’. NO! If he is not playing for England, you take that privilege away!

Teachers have no power to use force, or take away things from students. If they refuse to do something that I ask them to do, there’s not a lot I can do. And yet teachers are blames.

I hope you can hear the frustration in this because I’m feeling a little bit broken at the moment, and I wish that parents could see that. I just wonder whether they would actually care?

Much Love

Rachel xx

cut my losses or try again?

different sizes and forms of scissors
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It’s toxic, so much so it hurts,

It stings my eyes and burns my skin

Leaving blistered boils behind.

But on the other hand, I need that drug,

The mother’s love I craved so long,

Watching mums in town with girls,

Comforting despite their flaws

And soon I see I needed love

But not the poisonous type,

The type that comes conditionally.

And so the choice must swoop in low

And snatch the wrong one from my grasp

As someone needs to help me choose.

I haven’t seen or heard from my mum for over a year now, and I am constantly growing in confidence without her being there. It makes me think that perhaps I’m better off, but even typing that makes me feel like a terrible person.

My confidence has always been really low and I just thought that I was born that way, but I have realised that constantly worrying about saying the wrong thing around her has really made me an anxious human.

I’m now at a point where I need to make a decision. She doesn’t send me cards or even a birthday text so she is done with me, do I just stop emailing and texting her. I have said that I will talk with her but I need some sort of therapist or mediator with us. And she has said no.

I’d love to hear if other people have had similar experiences. Will I regret it if I let her go? Or will I flourish without the worry of not being good enough for her? Any thoughts people? Am I being a bitch? Or have other people done a similar thhing?

Much Love

Rachel xx

am i falling in love with the person who will break my heart?

food light landscape love
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Would I make half the effort if I knew how it ends?

As we sat by the pool, talking in whispers

Over pan pipe beers, that sing under breath,

Planning our lives, based on one week of love,

That magical ribbon, tying a bow round our bodies

To hold us together in a pleasant prison bond,

Our warm softened torsos pulsing with life,

Soon to turn chilly, when the ribbon breaks down.

It seemed so unbreakable on hot Durban nights,

But on grey London days the mirror turned in

And I learnt that dark lesson

That the heart can be shattered,

So best not to think

What the future may hold

In that moment of heat

When two like hearts can meet.

I my my ex-husband when I was nineteen and backpacking through South Africa. I had never fallen in love before, so I ended up falling hard.

I still have really vivid memories of sitting in the back garden of Tekweni Backpackers Hostel in Durban, drinking beers with him, with our feet dangling in the pool. It felt magical, and it really did look like a cinematic love story – something that could never possibly be broken.

But of course it could break; and it did.

But is it healthy to think about the heartbreak that could follow all those amazing feelings? I seem to have hung onto that pain like a security blanket, preventing me from ever diving into a relationship again. I wish I could forget.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

talking about suicide with young people

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In tutor time today, I happened to stumble upon the subject of Caroline Flack. We were talking about kindness and we were looking at the quote that she wrote on her Instagram just before she took her life – in a world where you can be anything, be kind.

For those of you who are not in the UK, Caroline was a famous TV presenter who got arrested for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend. The boyfriend didn’t want her charged, but between the court dates and losing her job, she was hounded on social media by trolls. She went on to commit suicide in February of last year.

I hadn’t planned to talk about this subject, but having started speaking, I couldn’t really reverse. I suddenly realised that I do not know these kids very well at all and if any of them had any trauma I could have done damage.

Luckily for me, they seemed interested in what happened to her and nobody seemed too upset. However, it did make me stop and think about how we approach subjects like this with young people. It’s so important that they understand how powerful their words are – even words that they have just typed.

My tutor group is made up of twelve and thirteen year olds, and I found that they really did seem too young to understand why someone would commit suicide. They are old enough to understand death, but the complexity of what happened to Caroline seemed a little too much for them to take on.

I remember when I was about seven a family friend committed suicide and my brain could not comprehend why it had happened. I was also morbidly fascinated and I remember asking lots of questions that were probably really inappropriate. I don’t know enough about child development to know if my lot really understand death – I mean, if I’m being honest, even I can’t quite grasp the fact that there will be an end to this adventure.

It does feel as though it’s important to speak to our young people about suicide, because it’s not a cry for help, and much of the time that’s all teenagers want to do. It’s a scary time for them as they become adults and crying out for a hand is to be expected, and healthy, and normal.

So all in all, I had another day of educating myself more than the kids as I thought really deeply about everything from mental health, trauma, respecting feelings and the power of my own words. One day the kids might actually learn more than I do!

Much Love

Rachel xx

there was support there all along

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It’s lonely up there at the front

With thirty pairs of judging eyes;

Those that want to sponge up words

While others want to spit them out

In violent torrents fired my way.

And when the castle’s under siege

And brickwork crumbles to the the ground,

It’s then you notice scaffold struts

And realise that an army stands behind

The ramparts that I ran along.

Help is always there so don’t

Let those little terrors tear you down!

I had my head of department come and speak to me today because a parent had phoned in and complained. A group of my lovely Year 10s had got to the end of their tethers with the two students who have been really rude to me.

As the teacher it is my responsibility to keep my class under control, so it immediately made me feel like I was being attacked. However, as I talked it through with my boss, I realised there was a whole level of support that I didn’t even realise was available.

I kept calm and now I can see that most of the time there is support there for when you are battling. I think that I have always gone into defence mode when things like this happen and I have really shot myself in the foot.

How many times have I self-sabotaged when someone was just trying to help? How many times have I packed up and left in fear, when there was really no need?

Teaching seems to be teaching me so many lessons about myself, in ways that I never would have expected. I had a little cry to myself in the car on the way home tonight – out of sadness for all the opportunities and loves that I may have lost over all these years. Things happen for a reason and I know that I had to go on my own journey, but it still hurts. Now I just have to make the most of what I have now.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the decorated fridge door

kitchen with modern appliances
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The kitchen gallery where nobody is charged

To view the works of Tom – aged two,

A painting made with fingerprints and blobs

Of colours from those squirty pots

That every nursery stocks in spades

Underneath the grotty sinks where dirty palettes lie.

And then there are the cardboard sheets,

Certificates for learning words and shapes

And being kind to other students in their class.

Magnets pin them to the door, all from places

We have been to as a happy family;

Memories of the holidays to Spain and Greece

And many moons ago when clubs on sweet Ibiza called,

Popping pills and downing shots with force.

That metal door was plain one day,

Empty of the postcards from our friends,

And now it holds a world of love, so look

Next time you’re in a kitchen for a cup of tea,

For you might just be lucky and

Get to see a vital pary of me.

I have a bit of an obsession with fridge magnets and I always need to buy one when I go to a museum or a new city. When I bring them home, I lovingly stick them to my fridge and they become a little gallery that reflects a bit of my life.

I’m also super nosy so I love looking at people’s fridges whenever I go over to their houses. In my opinion, they are as fascinating as the bookshelves of these people. They are an insight into who they are and what they enjoy in life.

It’s like a free art gallery that you have the ability to curate yourself. So next time you are in a little gift shop, make sure that you spend a few pounds and buy a magnet or a couple of postcards. I’m sure your house guests will appreciate it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

girls’ night out

woman on sofa
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Fizzy drinks in lurid colours,

Dresses like sleek mermaid tails,

And heels six inches, killer high.

They screech across the burdened table,

Heaving with the fish bowl drinks

And food that won’t be touched tonight.

One will wear a sash and boa

Another grasps a blow up dick

And then the others scream obscenities.

But can you wish them hate for fun

They have in bucket loads, and soon

They’ll leave the biggest tip and dance

Away to some old cheesy club

That plays the 90’s pop, Britney Spears

And Backstreet Boys, one being sick

Before the night is out, hair held back

And giggly calls to taxi ranks,

Then home to bed with shoes still on,

Glass of water balanced by the bed,

The final night complete before she’s wed.

One thing I really miss about drinking is the girls’ night out. Of course, I can still go out with the girls but it’s not the same if you can’t partake in a fishbowl.

I wrote this poem as a little homage to the memory of those nights. I do miss them – but I don’t miss those messy hangovers that went along with them. I’d take waking up fresh on a Sunday morning every time.

Much Love

Rachel xx

my child is angel

sleepy black boy in angel costume sleeping in decorated studio
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There once was a student who behaved like a saint,

A better picture of academia you could not paint

Or at least that’s what his mother would say

When I phoned her after bad lessons each day,

So shocked was she that she could quite easily faint.

I have this child in my class who is a terror. He throws things and shouts across my class and then when I ask him to leave he refuses. I wanted to give him an after school detention today but I have to get permission from a parent. So I duly gave the mother a call and came away quite shocked.

Apparently, he has no problems in other lessons and it’s just me! Apparently, he is an angel in every other subject and she has never received a call from any staff other than me.

I told her that I would review the situation in a week and keep in touch with her but he got out of that detention because she disagreed.

Half an hour late, he was supposed to be in my lesson and he was late. I didn’t say anything as I just wanted the lesson to run smoothly. However, it turns out that he had run into a colleague’s room and turned off her computer so that she had to reboot the whole thing and this ate into her lesson time.

So it turns out he’s not so angelic.

Hopefully that mother will enjoy the call from the Senior Leadership Team once that incident has been reported.

Much Love

Rachel xx