Thursday, 26 May 2011

Number Twenty Three: The Other Side of the Fence

I haven’t taught a class for a year now…my maternity leave should be ending and I should be returning to the world of work. This is not so. My last day of chemotherapy should be the 4th of August but the disastrous Picc line attempt has already put chemo number 4 back by a day so keeping on track is looking less likely! (I am now having a Grossman line inserted on my birthday!)

Just in case anyone thought I was exaggerating about my arm butchery!

Because the world (and my brain) works in weird and wonderful ways I have been thinking loads about work… having new ideas…. remembering old ideas and generally feeling incredibly motivated to get back into the classroom. (I know…I did say weird!) Part of this new found motivation is down to blogging- I have been reading lots of blogs written about the world of education, teachers’ blogs, class blogs and blogs by artists who work in schools. Not to mention the world of Teacher Twitter Tips I have entered!
The other thing that has been making me think though is having a son who’s entered the world of pre-school. After teaching for ten years I’m suddenly on the other side of the fence! I’m the parent not the teacher! I drop off and collect and at parents evening I sit on the side of the table where you get to feel all warm and proud- ahhh… I get to be on the receiving end of targets rather than setting them! I finally understand why every parent thinks their child is the most precious…because they are!
I can, hand on heart, say that having a child at school has affected the way I think as a teacher. My son had only been at pre-school a few weeks when I had my ‘School Teacher becomes School Parent’ epiphany. There had been an ‘incident’ at preschool and my son was described as ‘confrontational’. This was by no means an inaccurate description of the way he can at times behave but hearing it from someone else cut me deeply. I immediately tried to recall the language I had used over the years at parent’s evenings and hoped I hadn’t hurt any feelings the way my feelings were hurting. I spent the next few weeks tallying up incident slips Vs accident slips (when he hurts another child Vs when he is hurt!) He had calmed down significantly by the first official parents evening (hence the warm and fuzzy pride) and it was clear that he loved and was loved by preschool. All was very calm until just recently when he has begun to cry when I leave him and we have seen a few incident slips creeping their way back into our lives. I of course can’t help wonder if it’s the whole Beast Breast thing that has him unsettled or whether he would have had this little phase anyway. I went to my first Yoga class today- the theme was forgiveness and there was an awful lot of emphasis of being forgiving to yourself and letting go of blame so I’m going to heed this advice and choose not to blame myself!
My little boy cannot wait to start big school- he asks me every morning if he can have a green uniform instead of the red one! ‘Where is she going? The girl in the green. I wanna go to big school too.’ I wonder what it’ll be like when he’s at school full time… I wonder what it’ll be like when he reaches key stage two and I actually have an understanding about what he’s doing and what’s expected of him. I have a slight inkling that I’ll disagree with homework even more than I already do! I do not think that homework in my own home will be fun at all!
I read a blog post this week by a deputy head whose daughter took her KS2 SATs this year- he talked about how after preparing classes of children for ten years for the tests he had been made to stop and think about the whole process when his daughter was confronted by them. He’s also experiencing the other side of the fence. Someone else on the other side of the fence is another blogger- she is a doctor with breast cancer- she’s now a patient in her own place of work. How odd this must be. I’m slowly learning to decipher the language of medical professionals- starting with… ‘You might feel a short sharp scratch.’ Translates as… ‘This is going to be mighty painful.’ Or… ‘You may find a little of symptom a, b or c occurs at some point.’ Translates as… ‘You will most defiantly feel all of these awful things very soon.’ If you are doctor who falls ill you do not even have the comfort of these precious few weeks of ignorance! How awful. I think I’m glad I don’t know much about the other side of the hospital fence- I’m going with ignorance is bliss over knowledge being power in the case!
As an A and E nurse (sorry Sister) my youngest sister is now the biggest panicker EVER! She sees danger everywhere and when around her young nieces and nephews is on constant accident patrol! The girl can not relax! I’ve now realised that she is living in fear of being on the other side of her work fence. She witnesses horrific injuries, illness and even sudden deaths as part of a normal shift. There’s no way she’d want to be on the other side of that fence!  When we were growing up she was the most carefree, impulsive and risktaking of children but her work has made her grow up into the most worried, screeching and alarm bell ringing of aunts!

So now I’m wondering about other fences…

Do chefs enjoy dining out?
Is there any such thing as retail therapy for shop assistants?
Do gallery security guards still ‘see’ the art?

Here's a couple of links to what I've been reading...


  1. I used to love cleaning my home people commented it was like a show home. Then I started a cleaning business and I hate cleaning my home now, I do the essentials and its tidy but there are cobwebs. I have lost count of the times I have told myself its time for me to employ a cleaner now. I think the decline in enthusiasm for me is because it feels like I,m bringing my work home with me, I,m never switching off. Clare

  2. So sorry to hear about your PICC line problem. I'm supposed to finish my chemo on 4th August - how spooky is that. Hang in there chickie xx

  3. I really enjoyed reading your reflection on the impact having a child in the education system has had on you.

    That bruise looks terrible - shame it is going to happen on your birthday now, but I hope it goes well.

  4. Ouch for that PICC insertion! I could have done better I am sure!! And for the record - doctors DO NOT like being patients - quite simply I am not a very good one!

  5. Lovely to meet you Erin and your quirky blog! Look after yourself through all your chemo, recovery and childcare. I rely heavily on chocolate as "mental health food".