We’re entering the last phase of the course; gritting our teeth, grinding it out and hoping for the best. I had taken to using the backs of fellow commuters on trains to complete my marking. Once I too began to fall asleep standing up, I realised my daily commute was fast burning me out.
I hit upon the idea of staying at a B & B near the school for the remaining few weeks. The closest was ironically a former school that George Orwell had once taught in. As I sat in my room, I couldn’t help wondering if Orwell had written ‘1984’ or ‘Animal Farm’ while teaching here. Judging by the fact I had just danced ‘La Cucaracha’ with a cockroach, I suspect it was inspiration for ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’. It would explain why Orwell described the area as “one of the most godforsaken places I have ever struck”.
The B & B doubles as a haven for lonely business men with their meals for one. If the internet signal ever goes down around here you know about it. I avoid eye contact mostly, as my evenings are dedicated to working. I don’t have the time to console a grown man weeping on the end of my bed. Plus, I had already comforted a fellow student teacher who said she had spent the previous evening “practicing saying the words ‘I didn’t get the job’ without crying”.
My own eroded confidence has resulted in a complete abstention from looking for work. When a child given an opportunity to leave your class whoops with delight, and your mentor spends her time texting on her phone when you are explaining lesson ideas, something is wrong.
I was surprised to hear from a Hindu Prep School inviting me for interview. “Thank Ganesh for that!” I thought initially, checking to see the number of holy days a year they celebrate. My aim for the time being though is just to get through this placement. I’m a basket case but still just about able to keep up good enough levels of hygiene and sardonic humour to be allowed around children.
The good news is I have passed all my assignments (the only assignment I just scraped through was marked by someone with the surname ‘anal’, so they were bound to be over stringent) and I am just 10 days short of completing this mixed bag of a placement.
I only hope for a few things:
1) That I can get through this with mind and body together.
2) That I can pass my final observation and get my teaching status.
3) That the bird with the high pitched mating call outside my hotel window gets laid very soon.