When I awoke on Wednesday last week, I had not the slightest thought that by the end of the day, the profession that had so unceremoniously ejected me in 2016 might have called on me again. The view from the ‘outside’ has showed me just how much of a person’s life teaching steals, and I had decided that it has already had quite enough of mine. It was never that I disliked the actual teaching; in fact quite the contrary – but the whole package of what is these days imposed on the profession has tipped the balance too far to the negative, and its impact on my mental health had made that all too evident.
Over the past three years, I have found plenty of other rewarding and varied things to do with my life; since I managed to shake off the worst of the mental health issues that were the profession’s most immediate legacy, there has rarely been a dull day.
So the call from a former colleague, in need of someone to cover for a medical absence put me in something of a quandary. The local sixth form college is one of the few places that would still attract me; sixth form work was always my first preference. Such places also tend to be rather more grown-up in their outlook, and perhaps less condescending to those who work for them.
Despite the jangling of background nerves, I paid them a visit on Friday, and found the experience surprisingly comfortable. Once a teacher, always a teacher, I guess, and there was certainly none of the feeling of strangeness that accompanied the interviews I have had in other workplaces in the past couple of years.
So, if all goes according to plan, I will begin work on 5th November, just a week short of three years since my last time in the classroom – reincarnated as a teacher of ‘A’ Level Government & Politics, albeit just for a short while. We’ve been able to settle on some subject matter that is very comfortable too, and I’m actually quite looking forward to getting on with it.
I have no expectation of this leading anywhere; in any case I don’t want to return to the long hours of full-time teaching. But it has since occurred to me that this is nonetheless quite important: even if I never go near a school again, it will provide a different ‘ending’ to a story that so far finishes with my ignominious crashing out of my chosen profession in 2016. And that can only be good.