The End - The Doors.
Of our elaborate plans, the end.
Of everything that stands, the end.
No safety or (just) surprise the end.
Wednesday 12th December 2018
So that’s it, 27 years, including teacher training and that is it. No ceremony, no pomp, no warning just fifteen minutes in a small slightly tatty consulting room in South West London. I had gone to the meeting with the Occupational Health Physician knowing that my days were probably numbered since my Parkinsons symptoms had kicked up a notch in the previous six months. But I had presumed (wrongly) that the process would be prolonged and drawn out. Yet in the space of 900 second consultation, I had gone from respected, experienced teacher, to soon to be ex-teacher and therefore irrelevant. I walked out of the shabby office, okay I lied, I stumbled out of the poky office. The short journey back to school on foot, was just a blur of scenarios.
Once back at school I shared the news with my Head that I was unfit for work. My mates had been saying the same for the last two decades but now someone who wasn’t inebriated was saying the same thing with a sincere and disconsolate face. The staff at school all made the appropriate noises and faces. But frankly I was not listening, they could have been singing jingle bells for all I know. I spoke to them hopefully coherently and hopefully in English, but I can’t be certain. I was jerked out of my trance by my Head giving me a hug (I must have been in bad shape), maybe she has more emotional intelligence than I have given her credit for. I bade my farewell to her and my career and drove home, but first I collected my beautiful son from my mother in laws as he was unwell. He could not care less what had happened to me earlier that morning, all he cared about was that Dad was home and he wanted to beat me at NBA 2K18. What a saving grace, I need more people in my life who don’t see me through the lens of PD, but for who I am., for who I have always been.
I had been given the opportunity for a long Christmas break, however a wave of guilt engulfed me, this was so unfair for the colleagues I had left grafting on the Christmas production which had not been going well, some KS leader I am. Who would teach my Year 3 class , who would do the bike to school assembly, who would organise the sporting fixtures, who would do my duty, you get the picture. The future lay ahead of me but for the first time in my adult life I was unsure of what was ahead once the term started. I had been happily and voluntarily institutionalised by education. My life had been split into six chunks (half -terms), with holiday after each chunk. What was I to do now, what did non-teachers do? I was about to find out. Apparently teaching is not everything, even though when you are in the education bubble it seems to be the only thing. As Sue Barker may say, sort of ‘What will happen next?’.