I generally get up without too much complaint. It’s hard some days, because my bed is too damn comfy and I am warm and cosy and have a hard-on I need to re-organise.
But I don’t really struggle to get up. I just leave it to the last possible second before I do.
But in that fuzzy little bit of time where I fantasise unrealistically about phoning in sick, or going back under the covers and hiding – in that strange 10 minutes that feels like 10 seconds, I wonder about what it would be like if I stayed in bed, and then I immediately leap out of bed and get ready for school.
And here are 5 reasons why...
1) THE GUILT
You may have read fairly recently, about what happens when I don’t go to work. I have my class pretty much under the thumb now, though there are always surprises in special needs. But when I’m not there, they turn into animals. They are abusive, they are violent, they are obnoxious. And my staff will have a shocking day, and the children will have a shocking day, and their parents will have a shocking night... all because I didn’t go to work. I am the glue that holds the class together, and without me it will be a disaster and I really can’t do that to my staff. Also, I will have to pick up the pieces when I return and it’s really just much easier if I go in and make the day work.
I should add, I’m not blowing my own trumpet. I’m not especially skilled or amazing. It’s just the way it works in my class. That is the pattern and always has been. I am their consistent, trusted adult, and no-one else will do. They will punish the other staff if I’m not there... as they did last week.
2) THE HASSLE
It’s not just a case of phoning in sick. It’s getting up, calling in sick, then firing up my laptop, then spending probably an hour writing cover plans for my lessons that day, then emailing them. Then contacting my staff to warn them. By the time I’ve done all that I could be at work, at my desk, listening to Radio 4 and doing something useful. It’s not practical to skip school unless you really have to.
3) THE MONEY
I’m pretty well paid these days. Everything you hear about teachers’ pay and teachers’ pensions being poor is a bit of a myth really. My pay goes up all the time, and it’s pretty generous. And the pension is REALLY generous. Don’t get me wrong, I work extremely hard. It is not an easy job most days, and we get ignored, we get abused, we get spat at... we get hurt! Often, in fact. But the pay really is pretty reasonable. Especially for the hours I do... it’s not like mainstream where the kids are lovely but you lose every weekend and evening. The days in special are hard and scary, but you don’t have the same level paperwork of waiting for you afterwards.
I find money quite motivating. When I’m having a particularly hard day, and they’ve pushed me a little too far, I calculate my hourly rate. Then my half hourly, then how much money I’ve actually earned in the time I’ve been being verbally abused and I think “Ooh, actually, this is a bargain!” and it really helps me endure it professionally.
4) THE MUSIC
When I am struggling to get up in the morning (usually at the end of term when I have cumulative exhaustion) I burn myself a new CD. So excited am I at the prospect of playing my new CD in the car, that I happily leap out of bed and hurry to work so I can hear it. The same can be said for sunny weather and roof-down days. There is no greater pleasure than driving to work on a morning warm enough to have the roof down.
5) THE FUN
I actually kind of love my job. Yes, when you get right down to it, they’re completely mad, but it is immensely satisfying and I’m GOOD AT IT. The reason the days (usually) go well for me is because I am getting very, very good at steering my charges through their various frustrations and misapprehensions, especially at this point in the year when I know them so well. They’re good fun, they’re endlessly amusing and I manage to build quite a lot of fun into most days. I need them to enjoy it, so on top of the maths and English and science and RE, we always find time to do something fun.
And consequently, I have fun too.