Monday, November 8, 2010

Crawling ahead in pounds, sense and electrons.

Today I started a contract, signaling my first regular and certain employment in 11 months. Up until two months ago this didn't bother me. Up until then I had never had trouble finding a job when I needed it. Of the seven weeks of last term, I was only called in to work for 12 days. It was tough at times, especailly as my sole reason for coming to the UK was to earn money. When people asked me how long I planned to stay, I was tempted to reply, "Until I get enough money to get out of here".

But today it ended. I have a contract that guarantees me supply (relief) work until about the end of May next year. And there's an element of adventure to the start of the day, which makes me feel like a special agent. By 7:30am I must be ready and waiting at Brighton Train Station. I buy a sandwich, a coffee, pick up a free rag and sit waiting, phone in one hand, pencil and paper in the other. As the minutes tick by, I watch the commuters come and go.

At 8:07am my phone rings. I get the name of the school, a contact person and a train station (Lancing). I am advised to get a cab from Lancing
Station as it's a long way and the weather is torrential.

Now it's GO GO GO.

Go to ticket machine (no line- whew) buy ticket, look up, see a train's leaving in 3 minutes, race through the ticket barrier and down to platform one to catch train (whew). Find a seat. At Lancing there's one taxi (whew). Listen to taxi driver talk non-stop for the 5 minute journey. Report to school reception. Am given a supply pack (full of paper and stationery- great idea) and a twenty page guide for supply teachers. Without time to read it I am whisked down to the Science block (made it- whew!).

Lancing Train Station.

I teach three classes, each 100 minutes long. I teach, well it's Science, so really I learn, about the uses of metals and the three types of radiation (alpha, beta and gamma- the first two can change elements, the other one can change into bombs). I spend break talking to a Science teacher about his trip to NZ. I confiscate four phones, learn the names of the naughty kids first. One kid thinks I'm Scottish, others guess Australia. No one makes any Flight of the Concords jokes today (although there is one kid called Albie). One girl, Kirsty, has her whole make-up kit in her blouser pocket. Mykylika gets annoyed when I mispronounce her name for the second time. In one class there are three Ben's. I keep all of them in for the start of lunch. In the bustling staffroom no one says hi, I drink my coffee and leave, the kids are more fun to be around anyway. Every class has two Chloe's, in the last lesson the students are lovely, they work hard.

At 3:10pm I let the kids go, write up a report for the teacher, return things to the office, walk to the train station. I see Kirsty on the opposite platform, she smiles. I board the train home. Mission accomplished.

Tomorrow, another assignment.


  1. To a different place? It does sound exciting and secret agent like.

  2. Just as well you are teaching science. No one expects scientists to be able to spell.

  3. Ha- well I only make an effort at spelling in a professional capacity. However, the eight spelling mistakes I found upon rereading have now gone.

  4. Thanks for the post Nicola, ignore that grumpy old bugger.

    It's nice to see the world through your eyes, especially as a relief teacher, as that's part of my job now (arranging cover I mean, not actually doing it)
    I don't know if I could face teaching in the UK again, Kiwis are so much more relaxed.
    Also lots less people.

    Keep the posts coming please. I'll even reduce the number of scantily clad images on my posts that you seem to think are so "low". Fflur seems to like them though. The Grumpy One definitely does.

  5. It sounds like you are having an amazing time! Keep enjoying!

  6. You are in charge of cover now? I bet you have a good mathematical mind for it TSB.

    I should rephrase myself- I am all about equal rights, I just think you should also have an equal number of random images of scantily clad men!