‘It’s not right, if this were a relationship I would have left by now’. I sobbed.
I stood in the staff room kitchen, disorientated, soaked, and most likely smelling of decaffeinated coffee. Had my mind and actions been aligned I would have forseen the disaster that was ensuing .
My colleague tried desperately hard to cheer me up whilst handing me kitchen roll to dab at the wet patches on my top and trousers. It was in vain. Lucky for me I was wearing black so it was unnoticeable just olfactible.
Like me, she too knew and felt what I was going through. Her comforting words did not go unappreciated.
The coffee accident was not the problem it was rather the result of an unsettled mind.
I had only been in this job for 16 months. I was working flat out to raise the standards of my department, but I was burning the candle at both ends and had become exhausted and bitter about everything.
I gave so much of my time and effort to my form group, my students, parents, colleagues and other staff, I neglected the most important person – me.
I prided myself on the title.
What do you do ?
‘I’m a teacher.’ I would reply. Leaving the recipient to do and think what they will with the information. At the end of the day, I knew it was a suitable and respectable proffession with trust that I could co-sign an application form for anyone I could attestify to knowing. The reality was that in the 6 years that I had been teaching, I only signed one passport application.
The respect that this title bore was similar to being called a wife, with it came a mark of maturity and womanhood. However, underneath it all, I was painfully exhausted, frustrated, depressed and unfulfilled.
This was not what I came into teaching for. As a young looking black woman I was also up against a few more hurdles compared to my male or Caucasian counterparts.
With nothing else to feel proud about what would I then say when asked what I do. A thirty something year old with no progression in her career or life.
I searched for other jobs and came to the resolve that I could find another school to work at, but I knew the education system just like the health service or prison service, was insufferable. I had to leave completely and with that would come a pay cut and retraining.
I thought I had a calling to teach but there seems to be another calling… Unless I’m mistaken?
Life ….never goes as planned, 1 step forward, 5 steps back.