This week I’ve said ‘goodbye’ to my exam classes again.
I remember this Year 13 especially vividly when they joined the school as 11 year-olds. They were fresh faced Year 7s and I was a teacher returning to the classroom after nearly a year’s break. A special career break – my first maternity leave.
I remember standing in front of them in my classroom teaching about the Battle of Hastings while feeling totally at sea. Getting to grips with my new identity as a working mum – losing responsibility in the day-job due to my new part-time status, but feeling an overwhelming sense of responsibility for the little boy who was settling in (and catching all the bugs) at his new nursery.
I remember standing in front of them in my classroom teaching about the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade while trying to hide the exhaustion I was feeling being sleep deprived due to my little ‘sleep-thief’, organising a house move and putting myself through a mindfulness-based-cognitive-therapy course to deal with the frazzled feeling that I was carrying around with me.
I remember standing in front of them in my classroom teaching about the First World War while also dealing with the roller-coaster effects on my mind and body of undergoing fertility treatment. Putting on a smile when colleagues asked when we would be having another child. Keeping everything crossed that the ICSI cycle would be successful.
I remember standing in front of them in my classroom teaching about the Cold War while my twin bump was getting bigger and bigger and my excitement/anticipation/apprehension was growing enormous too!
I remember standing in front of them in my classroom teaching about GCSE History revision techniques while I was adjusting to being a twin mum with a older singleton to care for too. Juggling so much but trying to not let it show.
I remember standing in front of them in my classroom teaching about Charles I while I was sleep-deprived (again) and dealing with the hormonal changes that I was going through.
I remember standing in front of them in my classroom teaching about Oliver Cromwell while I was internally debating whether or not I wanted to continue in a profession that has the capacity to be all-consuming.
I remember standing in front of them in my classroom with so much going on, but feeling sure that they were oblivious (apart from to the twin bump – I don’t think any of them will have missed that!).
You see I’m sure these students will (hopefully) remember me standing in front of them in the classroom sharing my passion for the topics I taught them, appearing (on the whole) like I had nothing else going on in my life at all.
That is, after all, what teachers do.
We get on with the job without giving away too much about our own lives and without making too much of things that are happening to us or our own families. We have to.