Being off for six weeks is apparently not unusual for teachers.
In fact, if some rhetoric was to be believed, we have half the year off on paid leave, work from 9-3 every day and are simply the biggest slackers going.
Not that I’m entering into that debate.
However, after handing my class over to someone else for six weeks and literally detaching completely from work, it has been very strange going back into school this week.
Monday morning was a bit of a shock to the system. Not only was I back at work (weird enough) but my wife was working nights and Sophie was going to nursery for the first time. My head was completely all over the place!
I dropped Sophie at nursery and then, just as she burst into floods of tears I had to head off – what a heartbreaking image to leave with but one thankfully which did not reflect the rest of her day. More on that in a future post!
After driving to work, the nerves began to rise. Would I still be able to do this? How about my classroom – was it still mine? Walking in and seeing a bright shiny new display of my class’ work certainly seemed to suggest it wasn’t.
Six weeks is a long time in a school and there are a lot of changeable things which are imperceptible when you’re in the thick of it. I was concerned that, although they were still my kids, they would be radically different from when I last had charge of them.
However, I ought to say here that it has been nice to see my class again – and not just because some of them might actually be reading this and want a confidence boost! It’s been good to have normality and I think they’ve appreciated that too. They have changed but where things have slackened slightly, this can soon be addressed.
It’s also been lovely to spend time with my colleagues who have received me back with great smiles and affection. Comments though haven’t been hugely encouraging… “It doesn’t seem five minutes since you left” “ooh that’s gone quick” “were you gone?” OK, I made the last one up, but it seems to have passed by as rapidly for them as it has for me.
And so now I’m back. School is a key part of my agenda once again and it’s like I’ve never been away. But work is part of God’s created plan for us and it’s something I feel passionately I ought to be doing. I loved my time in charge of Sophie but I’ve been handed the opportunity to teach and help shape the lives and minds of the young people in my class.
I’ve got a job to do – I think I’d better go and get on with it!