Friday, May 23, 2008

My (Short) Career as a Teacher

I feel like I’ve had a tough couple of weeks. It’s all work wear-and-tear, so I can’t complain really. It’s not like my children under rubble in China or my home has been swept away in Burma. In fact, when things in my working life get me down, I try to keep that kind of perspective on things. In the bigger scheme of things, I’m doing pretty damned well.

Actually I do have one thing that keeps me on the straight-and-narrow when I’m stressed. When I left teaching, I always swore that I’d never forget how cardiac arrest-inducingly, arse-bendingly stressful that job was and it would help me calm in any subsequent work environment.

My career in teaching was short-lived. I taught adults at Kingsway FE college while I was studying my PGCE at the Institute of Education and did well there. Then I went to a 6th form college in Grays, Essex and it all went tits up. To be fair, I was pretty crap teacher in terms of paper work and the job made me miserable. I was good in the classroom, but even that used to terrify me at times. I was only in my 20s, too young to impose discipline on students with the same weird hair (mine was pink at one stage) and piercings as me. I incurred the displeasure of the Principal with my freewheeling (i.e. disorganised and rubbish) approach to lesson-planning.

In the end, the 1997 election ended my teaching career. I stayed up to watch Portillo getting kicked out and drank champagne until 4am (very New Labour). The next day I was close to death. When it came to my afternoon GSCE English class, I sat waiting for my students, feeling like a badger was trying to excavate my brain with its big front paws. After 20 minutes, no one turned up, so I thought ‘OK, I’ll fuck off home to die’. Then I did.

Unfortunately shortly after I left, one student turned up and my Head of Department happened to walk past, finding a lesson with no teacher. Needless to say my contract was not renewed.

Luckily, by then, I’d discovered the internet and eventually found my niche as a copywriter. It’s amazing how much easier a job is when you love it!

Footnote: my GCSE English students got higher marks than the Head of Department’s, so there.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Tris, you've taught me everything I know. Nuff said.