Friday, 1 August 2014

I Will Survive

Relief, Fear, Uncertainty

A grim start to a new blog? But Relief, Fear and Uncertainty are my initial feelings now that I’m retired.
At first I was afraid
I was petrified

How can I survive without a full-time job? Particularly such a busy, all-consuming job? Teaching for the best part of 32 years…. In Manchester, in London, in Winchester, in Helsinki, in Stratford-upon-Avon, in Retford, in Sheffield, in Leek, in Keighley, in Wakefield, in Leeds, in Bingley and for the last 14 years at Bradford Grammar School, a large coeducational independent school, where I was Head of English and Drama.
The Likes Of Us, my final "big" school production

    ….tis our fast intent
To shake all cares and business from our age
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
Unburdened crawl towards lie-ins, reading and going to the cinema in the afternoon, writing for fun, puzzling over jigsaws, walking on canal towpaths, the Yorkshire moors and dales on weekdays, focusing on health, booking holidays in school term times…. Working at living instead of living at work.

Ripeness Is All

Was it the right time to leave?
There is a tide in the affairs of men, which,
Taken at the flood, leads on to fortune….
Was this the right time? This blog may partially answer that question. Life is in an unusual place at the moment. I’ve been commuting most weekends from Bradford to Dorking where my family is temporarily renting a flat.
The Temple on the Nower in Dorking
Life In A School

I will miss the working life in school: the buzz, the buildings, the banter – but most of all the people. Working in a collegiate atmosphere with people who, by and large, have the same values and aims - colleagues who have compassion, enjoy a sense of absurdity and teach their specialist subjects with depth and detail. Colleagues whose goal is to inspire teenagers, those infuriating, bizarre semi-adult beasts, creatures full of the future, full of unpredictable fun, full of hormonal bullshit.
Rat Trap an original musical I directed at Leek Westwood High School in my first teaching job

Life As A Teacher

Every day contained dozens - probably hundreds - of interactions; some interactions were like performances, some quick and intense, some combative and unsettling, some giddyingly silly; but all were involving and immediate. Will I Survive without timetables, schemes of work, planning, delivering, evaluating, monitoring, assessing, reviewing, planning, delivering, evaluating, monitoring, assessing, reviewing, planning…. And so it goes on, deadline after deadline, day after day, week after week, term after term…. But never the same in my subjects (English and Drama) and never the same because of the endless parade of humans…. Teachers, Support Staff, Students…. A cavalcade of teeming humanity.
Mikey Lord leading These are the days of our lives at Bradford Grammar School We Will Rock You

What Next?

So the aims of this blog are for me to reflect on retirement, practise writing skills and comment on whatever crops up in the moment of writing.  The only binding constant will be the words of William Shakespeare, which I expect to crop up frequently; the Complete Works of Shakespeare (and everything that surrounds those Works) are my hobby and have been for a very long time. Anyone who enjoys spotting quotations (the clues are in the labels below each blog), feel free to reveal which words belong to which play. I expect there will be no obvious “narrative arc” – just a diary of whatever crops up in my retired life. My dream is to live in retirement as a “writer” and my first step is to begin this blog and aim for five posts a month by August 2016 (I’m giving myself two years to get into the swing of it….) As the Marvel-lous Stan Lee often says…. Excelsior!