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Monday, 17 July 2017

Reasons why Fran will now have more time to wait for the call from Vogue

Someone stopped me in a corridor at school last week to say, 'Oh, I hear you're retiring. Congratulations!'

Retiring? Retiring? How old does she think I look? Is my new make-up regime not effective? Have I chosen the wrong plastic surgeon?



'Not retiring,' I said, graciously, while thinking 'One more insinuation like that and I will bop you over the head with this Oxford English Dictionary.'

'Oh?' she said.

'Moving on from classroom teaching, though,' I told her. 'After the summer holidays, I'll be working in a learning centre which provides one-to-one GCSE teaching for pupils not coping in mainstream education.'

'One-to-one?' she said, with a breathy sense of wonder as though saying, 'Five years' holiday on a remote Greek island with Sean Bean?'



I can't believe it either. I've always thought my choices for my main day job were a) teach whole classes in a school or b) leave teaching as my main day job.

But then just before Easter I met the headmaster of a tiny little school which operates in my town, supported by a network of local churches, and which needed a teacher of GCSE English for three days a week.

'Let me cuddle you until you squeal for mercy,' I said nearly said to him, when he offered me an interview.

I did walk out of that interview feeling I'd fluffed the whole thing. You know how you go over what you've said, and think, 'You sounded like an idiot there. And there. And there. And there,' and wish you'd actually said this and this and that instead?

But he phoned me and said, 'You sounded like an idiot but we'll take you anyway .'

So, last Wednesday was my final day at school (independent schools finish disgustingly early for the summer and I have survivor guilt about it).

The joy of the new job is that I'll be doing what I love to do best: teaching English. Plan the lesson. Find resources. Teach the lesson. Mark any work produced in the lesson.

But teaching English in schools comes with all kinds of administrative baggage that won't be part of this new job: baggage which people tell you about but the reality of which doesn't hit you until you're drowning in it.

You know when Auntie Freda comes for Christmas and says she's only staying for two days but brings three suitcases, six carrier bags, two boxes, a bonkers dog, a parrot and a friend called Colin? Well, schoolteaching is like that, and I've spent fifteen years using up evenings and weekends dealing with all the extra baggage.

So, what will I do with my evenings and weekends now?

Well, I do still need other work as my three days won't quite keep the wolf from the door. So, I'll be keeping him at bay with some bits of freelance writing, private tutoring, proofreading and waiting for that delayed call from Vogue Magazine to do a cover shoot.

And you know that second book that I've been writing since the beginning of recorded time?....

Now there's a chance it might emerge, blinking into the sunlight.

And I'm very, very grateful for that chance. And happy. This kind of happy ....








14 comments:

  1. This reminds me of when I quit teaching at a public school. I wish I could have found a small school to work for, but there were none around here. In this state, they all consolidate.

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    1. I am still trying to get over the fact that I've found one. It seems too good to be true ...

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  2. Congratulations! And I'm still waiting for MY call from Vogue too. I don't understand why they're so slow about it.

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    1. I think they're waiting for the month when Kate Moss isn't available, then they'll be on the phone right away for one or the other of us. Keep faith :)

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  3. The change in teaching venues might make for a third book. Vogue has already chosen me for the aging and pudgy cover. I also get to be in a special blotchy skin feature.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I'm down for Varicose Vein week and the Bingo Wings mini-series.

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  4. For some reason, your piece put me in mind of wonderful Mrs.Owen, an English supply teacher who we had for just one term and who was inspirational. I've forgotten many of my other teachers' names as they made no impression. Best of luck in the new job, Fran. It sounds wonderful!

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    1. I want to be Mrs Owen. I fear I fall far short, but it's worth a shot.

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  5. Mazel tov on the new job, Fran; as my grandmother said to ANYTHING new, "Wear it in good health!!"

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    1. I like the sound of your grandmother. Everyone needs a grandmother like that.

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  6. All the best in your new job Mrs! Or should I say 'Enjoy your retirement?!';) And you look so young in that photo at the top of your blog!! (Guess it was taken some years ago). Thanks for giving me a good giggle on my day off. x

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    1. That photo was my 21st birthday - how did you guess?!

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  7. .. what great news Fran.... so glad you got this new job ... enjoy .. xx Barb xxxx

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