When I first started teaching his lordship, I couldn’t sleep very much. He was physically, emotionally and mentally draining me of all of my energy and making it impossible for me to recharge my batteries. I’d spend my nights tossing and turning, reliving the day’s events over and over, with my mind concocting more outrageous outcomes to the day’s situations.
One night, I was wide awake and stumbled upon a Pinterest© pin about how to deal with anxieties, stress and worry filled sleep. One idea was to keep a journal about your worries to off load before you try to fall asleep. I had many empty notebooks available so I grabbed one in that moment and starting writing about him chewing Blu tak that day. I closed the book, hid it in my drawer and turned my lamp off.
Later on, I woke up after having what felt like the best nights sleep I had had, even though it had only been a few hours. I forgot about the notebook over the Christmas holiday and started losing sleep again, in the spring term. I felt exhausted and I was only a few weeks in. I mentioned it to my phase leader and management who suggested that I get my iron levels checked and make sure I was eating well. My iron levels were fine though, my nurse practitioner offered me some tablets to help me sleep, but I’ve always had an aversion to sleeping tablets. I didn’t want to become reliant on them, or end up being late into school one day when I didn’t wake up in time. I declined the tablets but I knew I had to do something about my sleep in order to function as a human being, let alone a half decent teacher.
The previous year, my class had had many teachers come and go. Their first teacher only lasted until October half term. They had a supply teacher most days until Christmas. In January, they had a PPA cover teacher, teach them 3 full days a week. She was only supposed to be there until Easter, but their new teacher came for induction and then didn’t return after the holidays. It had been quite the unsettled year for them. I wanted to be a more reliable and As resilient as I knew I could be, I was beginning to struggle to see how I would last much longer than their previous teachers…look at me though, 16+ months on!
It took me a while to get into the habit of journaling. Some nights, I would forget to write and try to fall asleep. I’d make it to midnight before I’d remember to journal and finally be able to fall asleep peacefully. I started putting a timer on my phone which would remind me to write the day’s problems down at 10pm. I’d spend an hour scribbling and get a good enough nights sleep to make it through another day. I lived for the weekends though, when I could sleep in and catch up on the zzZZs without worrying, but then I’d spend the days catching up on planning, resourcing, marking and those dreaded year 2 assessments.
As we entered the summer term, the worries switched from his lordship to the job itself. Year 2 is a stressful year to teach anyway. It was made even more stressful last year by not knowing what we had to assess (and how we had to assess) until the very last minute. We’d spend days out of class searching through the books for evidence to match statements and then discovered that the evidence could only be used if the statement hadn’t been directly taught in that particular lesson, so all of our evidence for using contractions, conjunctions and past/present tense were null and void. We almost had to start from scratch. It made no sense to me and I was growing tired of practically being forced, by the government, to play a game. A game they would not tell me the rules to until I was losing anyway.
So as well as sleepless nights over his lordship’s antics in school, the job itself started stealing my sleep. My journal started filling up and I realised, at the rate I was scribbling, I’d have a storage container full of notebooks that nobody would know about until I died and my sister, most likely outliving her stressed to the max older sister, would discover them and burn them after reading them. I spent the summer looking into blogging and how to start. What would be my boundaries and legal limitations? How would I remain anonymous but still get recognition for my ramblings? Would anybody really read my waffled ramblings? Would people believe that my stories are real? The only way to find out was to begin. I set up my first blog in August but quickly forgot the log in and password. I started again in September. Made a mental note of the email I established and my blogging details. Told my closest friends and discovered my first readers/fans. My colleagues, former colleagues and closest friends.
When we lost his lordship just before Christmas, to a new, lucky school. He didn’t die. I wrongly assumed that I’d have nothing to journal/blog about. But schools have revolving doors. When one problem leaves, another one somersaults in and dabs it’s way into your life. As long as I am teaching, there will always be something to moan about or celebrate. After all, that’s what teachers do best!