Day 2 – A letter to someone who has impacted you in some way.
Dear Sixth Form,
There is no way you could have possibly known this, but this morning was a bad morning. I woke up late, I couldn’t find the dress I wanted to wear, I saw a dead cat on my drive to school. To give you some perspective, when I walked into the team base this morning, I put my tuna pasta into the fridge, pointed my hand towards the door, and attempted to remote lock the door with my car key. I flung myself into the door, not realising that (for once) I had actually locked it, and I spilt tea all over my hand.
Mentor time was an arduous task. I spent the entire 20 minutes yawning, due to my horrendous nights sleep last night; I had to cradle my ear in order to put my head on the pillow – no, I don’t know why, but it hurts. To avoid arguments, I gave a half point to the kids because, when asked to name this famous landmark (the Forth Bridge), they at least got ‘bridge’. Everything felt slow; time felt as though it was dragging and I was relatively certain that this school day would be longer than most, purely because I was so exhausted that it was bound to.
The beeps; the signal of institutionalised discipline, the signal that time is moving on and that we are progressing through our day. I have been excited to watch The Great Gatsby with you for several weeks. When I chose to read the text with you, I had no idea how much it would encapsulate you, and how enthralled by Nick, Daisy and Gatsby you would become. It’s been the highlight of my teaching career, watching you make connections and feel the devastation as you experience their love affair and heartbreak for yourself.
There was no reason for you to know I had had a bad morning before the clock had even struck 9am. I didn’t expect you to care. You all trickled in, one by one, arm in arm, filling up the classroom slowly to our paltry group of 10. I could feel the gentle buzz; you were as excited as I was. That buzz was the first thing to make me smile all morning. The final two of you waltz in, arms full of treats; the adolescent initiation of finally being able to drive, is the inaugural and repeatedly requested drives to McDonalds – the widely understood beginning of adulthood.
“Miss! We got you a hot chocolate!”
It may have seemed small, but you made my day with that tiny comment; I felt like I had truly made an impact on you both – in my experience, most children swan in and out of your lesson, tell you to bugger off in much more vulgar terms, and never consider the impact they have on you, how much time I spend marking books or all the times I am there until the Witching Hour, speaking to parents. The very fact that, on your way in you were thoughtful enough to provide me with a treat alongside yours really knocked me for six. As if that wasn’t enough, you followed up that statement with:
“Yeah! And a doughnut!”
Thankyou, year 12. What seemed like a tiny gesture to you, was a massive thing to me. Without wanting you to break out the tiny violins, teaching isn’t a job you go into because you expect to get bucketloads of praise, or for the bucketloads of cash. I teach, because I love watching your reaction to Tom breaking Myrtle’s nose; outraged, incredulous, wishing to avenge her. I love hearing you tell me what a cow Daisy is, because she didn’t even phone Nick back. I love reading with you. That tiny gesture makes me realise that, for all the impact you have on me, I equally have an impact on you.
Upon my desk today, sat two McDonalds purchases; the two best things that have ever sat upon my desk.