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.