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I think it was Ronan Keating who told us that “life is a rollercoaster” (I could ask my sister, but she doesn’t like to be reminded of that phase in her life!)  If he thinks life’s like that, he should try teaching!

One of my trainees was having a meltdown in the ladies’ loo the other day.  Her lesson had been carefully planned and prepared but, within moments of starting, it had gone to pot.  The worst thing of all was that she’d had a brilliant day the day before.  She was devastated.

On A Level results day, my form was fairly evenly divided between those who’d got great results and those who hadn’t.  I was offering congratulations and tissues in equal measure.  Since then, several students have taken the decision to drop courses or to leave altogether and it’s been a difficult time all round. 

This morning, Naomi told me she was “buzzing off poetry”.  This afternoon, I had to have a difficult conversation with a VI form student who has plagiarised his coursework. 

My marking pile looks like the West Face of Siula Grande (guess what I’m teaching year 11?!) and it’s just going to get worse.  At the same time, I need to plan some Shakespeare and ELH lessons for my year 10 who, according to Callum, “learn loads even though we don’t seem to do any work”.  The last ever reports have been written for year 13, and year 7 have their first parents’ evening coming up.  We’ve got just tens of lessons with year 11 before their exams but they seem to be more concerned with their prom dresses than their exams. 

Everyone has up days and down days, it’s true.  But if we’re teachers, we take on their ups and downs too.  So if their fish has died, we take it on board.  If granny got eaten by a wolf, we help them to deal with it.  If they got a bad mark, or their lesson fell apart, or Brandon didn’t want to be their friend any more, we help them out. 

What we tend to be really bad at is looking out for ourselves.  One day last week, I came home and sat by the fire for hours simply staring into space.  There was just too much to think about.  My head, as they say round here, was totally blagged.  I’d taken on so many of other people’s issues that I no longer had space for my own.  The following day, Hannah, who is in my year 13 class, stopped me in the corridor to ask if I was okay.  She’d seen my glazed look and was concerned. 

It was a difficult week, in a difficult term, in a difficult year…. But they’re all like that.  The journey is an up and down one, and we have little or no control over it.  That’s why, when we get the highs, we need to take a moment to savour them.

To Callum: thanks for the compliment.

To Naomi: I’m delighted to hear it.

To Hannah: thank you for caring enough to ask.

To all the teachers out there, have a posh biscuit and a cuppa.  You deserve it.

Cinders