The spirited ones

They breeze through life in a haze of chaos

Teaching others lessons outside schemes of work,

Beyond curriculum, worldly knowledge

Even I had failed to learn in my many years.

They’re loud, but all because they’re scared,

They’re petrified, they’ve seen too much

And we are left to pick up pieces skittering

Across the classroom floor, sharp and bitter to the touch

But we can heal those wounds.

There are some real characters that I have come across in the past few days. A lot of them have had really difficult lives and you have to smile at their resilience. They may be loud but it’s defence. Show the world you’re confident and soon they will believe it’s true.

The nice thing about being a teacher is that we get the chance to start healing some of those wounds. That’s a real honour and something I hope I don’t forget over the course of my career.

Much Love

Rachel xx

lost like a lemon

bowl with lemons on textile on table
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They compare those of us that are lost

To a lemon, of all things.

Ever so sour, rather than watery and weak,

Wandering the corridors of buildings unknown,

Crying for help in a world that is strange,

Tilting and twisting like a fun house mirror,

A maze of glass panes that offer no help.

But one day I’ll be less like a lemon

And stride through this world like a woman in charge.

I had my first day at my first proper school where I will be employed in September. It was great and I’m so excited to get started but I had that horrible feeling today, that is impossible to escape on any first day.

It is the feeling that I have no bloody idea what is going on and I’m worried that I’ll never catch on.

I have felt this several times throughout the last year, so I know it will pass, but it’s easy to think that I’ll just get lost in the corridors and nobody will notice, or care. There’s always that nagging feeling that they have spent their first full day with me and they are already regretting taking me on.

I may have to struggle through this until I start properly in September, but I will feel like less of a lemon soon…

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

auditorium benches chairs class
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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

Paperback reader

she sits in musty sunlit window seats,

Feet curled loosely underneath

Her paisley dress that gently grazes floors

As yellowed pages turn in spindly fingers

Decked with pretty opal rings she bought

With her books in goodwill stores,

Stacking volumes in her arms, until

She finds the one, a battered jacket,

Loved and cast aside in time, ready

For another person in the window to

Read that book in paperback, mass produced

But only one has fallen into hands

Decked with opal rings. She smiles

And slides between those tattered covers.

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 end is near

It seemed like a finish line too far away,

A promise that was whispered into a hungry ear,

Wanting to know that there would be an end

But too ravenous to think about checking the facts.

And so you will find yourself slogging away,

Too far has been covered to turn back to home,

Yet the sun is now setting on a dream that was seen

In a feverish sleep so long ago.

But it will come to end in a glorious way

When that pipe dream spurts out

Into a bountiful estuary, and a sea

Where the possibilities flow out in endless new ways.

I have been seeing loads of people on Facebook saying that they have just handed in their final uni essays and now it’s my turn! This afternoon my last assessment got sent, my viva is in two weeks, graduation in three and I start my new job in four.

When I set out on this teaching journey, I was really worried that I could go down in flames. I had no real teaching experience, I just knew that I enjoyed seeing people learning. But was that going to be enough to see my through?

I have now made it to within touching distance and I’m having time to reflect on the year. There are several people who have dropped out and I wonder what it was that got me through and not them? Particularly when you look at my track record.

I am celebrating my success and making sure I enjoy that because that has been a hell of a year. The finish line is in sight and I have run a few 100 milers so I know the ecstasy that you can feel when you finally reach that point!

Much Love

Rachel xx

poetry in motion

man in black shirt and pants doing yoga
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The first tentative toe touches the brazen ice,

Audience holding their breath, as she pushes away,

She looked like Bambi as she made her way to the edge

Of a rink all ready for a fight, for competition

Fiercer than a lion’s brawl. Ferociously,

They pick up speed and soon they’re flying.

That little girl, so dainty in her leotard

Is fearless as she hits the triple toe loop and

We exhale, we cheer, we say we knew it all along,

She was destined for the gold, a champion

In the body of a child, a fighter,

A master of the art.

I sometimes watch the ice skating on TV and I wonder how someone who looks so dainty can do something that requires so much strength and bravery. Furthermore, they make it look like a breeze.

You see it in all areas of life and I don’t know if I have a ‘thing’ that I make look easy. I remember my coach watching me when I was a swimmer and saying that he could sit and watch me all day, so I suppose that may count.

The truth is that it takes years and years to get to that point where it looks effortless. Those little Russian skaters have been doing that since they were three; that’s why they can do those tricks and make it look easy.

I was lucky enough to watch a lady teach English Lit today and she was like this. She was an older lady and she didn’t seem to have much spring in her step. I was worried that observing her for two and a half hours was going to be unbearable. However, watching her was something to behold. I was entranced.

I got the impression she has taught for many years, but one day I hope that I can be a real life grown up teacher like her.

Much Love

Rachel xx