The final few days of August are upon us and I know there is something missing- school uniform?Nope my kids aren’t school age anymore, Holiday photos ordered? Nope didn’t have a holiday.....then it hit me!
It’s a feeling that never leaves you even after you’ve left that situation! It’s the return of a new school year, the hustle and bustle of purchasing cheeky items from your travels to add to your new provision , it’s the excitement of going into school and setting up your room, touching base with your team and going out and treating yourself to new work wear or shoes or maybe even a new diary/bag! See I know...I’ve been there for the last 2 decades!
It’s the loss for me of not having a school to return to, I feel I am missing something. The whole COVID-19 pandemic was the most utterly shattering experience of my 46 years on this planet.
It’s seen me virtually written off - sadly my teacher trainer position was stopped due to schools closing, my regular supply teacher position disappeared and for many weeks I was tentatively kept dangling with no income or furlough money for my family until that was eventually sorted after an emotionally, desperate and agonising 15 weeks. I went from being a 2 income household to one, with no government support or help for various reasons beyond my control. Life as I’d known it just literally halted overnight. Tears, anger, uncontrollably loss seeped in and for a while I felt an utter failure then a stern talk with myself and a renewed wave of strength saw me applying for teaching and non teaching jobs to avoid having to go cap in hand to my parents asking for a bail out option - that was NOT going to happen- I refused!
Applying for jobs was much harder than I thought. I’ve always been so lucky in getting what I want first time round - a couple of failed attempts of securing a teaching position pushed me over the edge for a couple of weeks- feeling a failure, losing confidence and feeling worthless as a teacher and that my experience/expertise counted for nothing over the last 23 years it didn’t stop there....in the ‘real’ world (non education) applying takes hours of filling in applications that feel like you’re applying for a role in the SAS! taking online tests, that if you don’t answer even one question correctly you’re booted out!! It’s the not hearing back following submitting an application or receiving standard generated responses saying ‘Due to high standard of applications...blah blah blah’ really, truly dents your pride, confidence and makes you question who you are and if you will ever move forward in this nightmare?!
One organisation actually gave me a chance- they could not have been more welcoming and understanding of my current situation or the profession I was coming from. They were prepared to take a chance and take me on for as long as I needed pending a return to education... they were Sainsburys!
A totally different ball game, I mean a real game changer - uniform given with all the tools that I needed in order to work (that’s a rare things ) interactive online paid training which was actually enjoyable even though it was 4 hours long! I was given someone to shadow for my first shift and then I was off, on my own, contributing to the pandemic effort and introduced to my area..Aisle 6- biscuits and crackers! to say it was easy would be a massive big untruth- I hurt all over experiencing muscles crying out that I never knew I had , I was a walking zombie for the first few weeks - did I mention it’s a night shift role so I start work 9pm at night and I didn’t know if I would last past the end of the month!
Fast forward 10 weeks and I’ve been asked to stay on until my former life returns and the team I work with have become great friends, we champion each other on and work hard to get a huge amount of deliveries out before the online pickers arrive and the store opens at 7am. I can get 2-3 pallets plus 2-3 rollers out per shift and leave in the early hours of the morning feeling a sense of accomplishment - I’ve been introduced to ‘huddles’, NDI, DU’s plus other little catchphrases that have simply replaced the education terms
This isn’t my forever job, it’s a period of time that I needed to step up and support /contribute to my family and feel involved. I do envy the return to school feelings and love looking at posts and social media classroom tours and ideas wishing that my life pre 2020 returns and I can once again do what I love, rekindle my passion and get stuck in!
Have a great start to the term- I truly admire each and every teacher, leader, support staff that have had to jump through ever moving hoops, change ways of working and continue to provide educational experiences through this pandemic. Go forth and be the amazing, brilliant, nurturing people that you’ve trained to be - you’ve got this and those children will be so excited to see you again! Here’s to the academic year 2020-21 I shall catch up with you all soon!