best dance of the night

As they limber up, the orchestra strings

Tune themselves against the chatter,

The excited backdrop of the ballroom floor.

They’ve trained for this, for the audience coughs

And the roving lights of TV cameras,

And yet veins are pumped with pins and needles

As music so familiar, we thought we’re born

With it thrumming its beat in our fetal hearts

Plays over loudspeakers tinny with age.

The lights will come up and the music will start

And all they can hope for is a sweeping of tens

With tables clapping and judges all standing.

It was the first time the Strictly Come Dancing contestants did a dance last night and it proved to be quite the show. I’m not normally a huge fan, but there is an Olympic swimmer in the mix so it suddenly became much more interesting this year. Plus, I don’t mind admitting that I’ve got a bit of a thing for Dan Walker.

However, in my humble opinion it was Robert Webb’s Cha Cha Cha that stole the show. It was camp comedy genius and if I could give any of them a ten, it would be him.

I defy you to watch it without laughing. You are welcome.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

lost and worried times are always the brightest

No filter or lens can take off the sheen,

Those colours so saturated with fear

And something once scratched from

The surface of Hell and smeared on the edges

Of a land I call Heaven – a fake one at that.

But it still feels so special to look back

On those purple hue days, with radio blaring

And windows rolled down, as I sing out so loud

Before the dark winds blow through and

Send me scrambling back down to low ground.

I’m reading a book about running at the moment, and it explores a lot of the reasons why we run and what it does for our mental health. Last night I read the words ‘the more lost or worried you are, the more deeply you drink in the details’ – and that really resonated with me.

I’ve always thought I was alone in finding that the times when I am struggling are the times when my memories are brightest and shiniest. Everyone else talks about these times being ‘dark’, but for me, the adrenaline that comes with my anxiety makes everything colourful and ‘exciting’.

I remember working at a leisure club back in 2014 and the people there were quite difficult to work with. I ended up working myself into one of my frenzies and got to the point where I was convinced I was in danger.

My overriding memory of this time is driving to work in the summer months and just feeling overwhelmed by the beauty as I came over the hill and saw the lavender fields ahead of me. It felt incredible.

I was drinking in all of the details around me more deeply than I had ever before. The sights, the smells, the sounds were all so much more acute.

This is the song that goes alongside those memories. I still can’t make out whether I’m scared or happy every time I hear it. It’s just nice to know that it’s natural to experience this when life is a bit overwhelming.

Much Love

Rachel xx

a joyful moment at 2:23pm

It was 2:23pm on a Friday afternoon,

With the Year 10 girls, drifting away,

Their left over laughter lingering on

And a few quiet moments before the Year 7s

Bowl down the corridor in bold anticipation,

Dreaming of poems with delectable rhymes

And books by Roald Dahl, with tongue twisting names.

But in those short minutes with nothing to do,

The teachers all sink into swivelling chairs,

Digging out chocolate and bottles of pop

To keep ourselves ticking for one hour more.

Closing my eyes at 2:23, with just one more lesson,

I feel that the world has paused in its spin,

With the light flitting in through the blinds still not fixed,

I wish that this droplet of perfection in time

Could freeze into ice and hold shape forever.

Those moments exist, dotted throughout,

So open your eyes and look for the sun.

staying up for open evening

Science blocks, filled with Bunsen burners,

Frogs dissected on small stone slabs,

While drama students play with lights

And dance on stages bathed in blue.

The English girls all stack up books

That hardly any kids will see,

Bored by words and pages that will fill

Their worlds, their minds

And colour what they do for life.

But next there’s gym where balls are kicked

And hockey sticks are swung with force.

The maths geeks pull you in with stats

And little puzzles get the brain cells

Fizzing with a painful glee.

Finally, they’re pushed out through

Humanities where maps are hung

And pictures of Franz Ferdinand.

The tour now over, families stumble

From the glowing automatic doors,

Heads all jumbled with the stuff they’ve learnt.

The teachers breathe a sigh of sweet release;

We hope those kids will make it back

As eager, happy, bright Year Sevens.

Either way we’re just real glad

That now we can sit down and eat!

all that pent up anger

women sitting on the floor while looking at candles
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It bubbles like the witches’ cauldron,

Plotting spells and hexes for

The unsuspecting teachers who

Dare to tread within their walls,

To tell them what to do.

I am really noticing a lot of anger coming from the students that I teach at the moment. I used to think it was because they hated me for some reason, but now I’m noticing that it’s actually a real hatred for the world around them.

One girl in my tutor group (who I have only been with for four afternoon slots) constantly glowers at me, like I’ve killed someone in her family. I have barely spoken to the girl but she is so angry she dare not even give me a chance.

What kind of life are they going to grow into, if they already feel this angry at such a young age? I do feel angry that they are not giving me a chance and that they want me to be a monster. But I also feel very sad for them. Anger hurts and I hope they can let go soon, before it totally ruins their lives.

Much Love

Rachel xx

calling home to parents

antique close up cord dial
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The ring tone sounds and bile

Begins to rise within my throat,

The hope the I will just go through

To voicemail, an easy ride,

The chance to quash the worry of

Those blundered words and even worse,

Them shouting at me for my cheek

At daring to confront their cherubs,

The children with the sunshine

Pouring out of their behinds.

I have put off phoning parents all through my training year and now the first three weeks of my actual career. It’s ridiculous, but my anxiety about it just meant that I dodged it whenever I could. As far as I was concerned, they would not be on my side and they would just shout at me.

So today, I reached that point where I had no choice but to do it. And you know what? It wasn’t bad at all.

It went so well that I actually found myself pathetically having a little cry in the car on the way home. Just five years ago I didn’t think I was worthy of anything more than the retail jobs that I had been doing. I couldn’t imagine myself talking to important people or having difficult conversations.

I look at that version of myself and it’s hard to marry her up with who I am now. I’m not doing anything special, I’m just doing normal things that I never thought possible for me. It makes all that pain feel worthwhile knowing that now I can do anything if I just train myself to get through it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

too much admin

binding books bound colorful
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The paper waves are slowly closing over

A gaping mouth that gasps for air

But only manages a desperate breath

That sucks in numbers mixed with emails for

The heads of house and senior ones

Who seem to have it all together

At all times they steer a ship

Successfully through OFSTED watch

And other things that surely kill

The drowning ones like you and me.

Bloody hell, the paperwork and the planning that goes alongside teaching is somewhat scary. It comes in waves and I sometimes find myself wondering why I have nothing to do and then the next day I am so snowed under, I don’t know where to start.

It doesn’t help when twenty out of thirty members of a class decide that completing their homework is something they can do if they feel like it. It feels like rounding up sheep while also juggling with my feet as I stand on my head.

I will not let this beat me, but I feel like I am going to run out of air very, VERY soon. Anyone else feel like this? Because it doesn’t help when everyone around me is experienced and has this all under control!

Much Love

Rachel xx

the track meet

blue athletic field
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We gather together, a heaving mass

Of people not seen in so many months

As the javelin flies, and the gun

Explodes for the start of the sprint.

We cheer and we clap as a girl

Flying ahead of the rest

With ribbons in her hair

And fluorescent pink shoes

That flash past the crowd

With each kick of her feet.

I went for a little walk with the family today and we made our way over to the athletics track over the road. For just the second time in the two years that we have lived here, I saw that there was a track and field meet taking place.

I have missed seeing all the grass roots sport that really needs to take place for professional sport to have a chance of blossoming. And we actually sat and watched the kids doing a few races, just because it was lovely to see.

It also brought back some beautiful memories of my time racing as a kid. Most of my racing was in a pool but I remember doing a 1500m on that track when I was about thirteen. Just hearing the sounds took me back and it was just what I needed for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Much Love

Rachel xx

picking on famous people

We poke at them endlessly

With rods that are longer

Than we deserve them to be,

But how would you feel

Reading those comments?

Would you brush it all off,

Or curl in a ball?

Or could you find humour

In your own little faultlines

You put out willingly?

I was doing the thing that annoys me the most in the world, and I was reading the comments on the Facebook Daily Mirror page. It winds me up something chronic, and yet I still do it. And this one annoyed me.

The ‘commenters’ were ripping into Holly Willoughby because she laughed at a comment someone else had made about Harry and Megan. She laughed at something that was genuinely quite funny and it made me worry about where we draw the line when laughing at people; people who have purposely put themselves out there in the first place.

I’m not talking about malicious comments, but genuinely funny observations. If we are not allowed to laugh at anything then surely anyone who goes to see a stand up comic is being evil? Where is this line? I’m not sure and it makes me feel uncomfortable not knowing.

When I was swimming competitively, I was in the local paper a lot. My school put the clippings on the sports hall notice board and some clever dick stuck a chewy milk bottle sweet over my picture so that it looked like I was holding it in my hands rather than the medal. Everyone was laughing at it but I had to admit that it was pretty funny, and so I left it there.

Harry and Megan have gone through hell and I am sure their skin is much thicker than mine. I’m sure they can put up with some comments that are genuinely funny? Who knows, it might have made them chuckle too?

Much Love

Rachel xx

i hope i dealt with that OK?

books on brown wooden shelf
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

What’s the best way to deal

With a broken heart

Or a friendship that’s died?

How do you help kids

You’ve known for two weeks?

And how do you stop worrying

That you did it all wrong?

I had an interesting situation today, and I really hope that I dealt with it effectively. I’ve written about my worries about opening up when things are going wrong. I’ve had a bad experience and so I’m loathe to tell anyone when I’m having a wobble. But, on the other hand, I really hope that I’m the kind of person people feel comfortable to come to when they are having a wobble.

Today, I had a fifteen year old girl who was playing up for the whole lesson and did absolutely nothing. She is normally a bit sparky but on the whole she is a great kid so I didn’t want to come down hard on her.

I kind of sat and observed quietly, trying to give a gentle push every now and then. By the time we were clearing away she was starting to well up with tears and I suddenly felt a bit uncomfortable. I just had this horrible feeling that it was something to do with me and the way I had spoken to her.

Normally, in this situation, the kid gets so irate that they just storm out and you don’t see them again until the next lesson. However, this girl came up to me at the end (obviously distressed) and she apologised, said she would take her book away and do the work in her own time and said that she just didn’t know what was wrong with herself.

I do think that there was more going on underneath and I really hope that she went and found her head of house who she knows well and can trust. But it just took me by surprise that a Year 10 could show such maturity. Most would storm out and make me feel horrible for the weekend and like I hadn’t done my job well.

I hope that there are many more kids out there that have the fortitude to say they’re wobbling. The aggressive, angry stomping that I get from most is becoming quite tiring so well done that girl.

Much Love

Rachel xx