Since my new school’s opening, certain things have changed.
We are lucky enough to have a fresh, state-of-the-art special needs school, with first rate facilities and everything within shiny and brand new.
We are lucky enough to have beautiful new classrooms, with individual gardens or –in my case – a gorgeous roof terrace.
We are lucky enough to have a new staffing structure, with the odd little promotion and pleasing pay-rise thrown in, for some of us.
But then there is the parking. The new building has been constructed on what was once a school field for the large secondary comprehensive next door, and now lies between said comprehensive and the large primary school on the other side. Slap bang in the middle of a residential area.
Our car park can only accommodate about one third of the staff, the pressure upon residential roads for parking, between the drop-offs and pick-ups for 3 schools in immense, and we have a polite cold-war stand-off over parking with the school next door.
We have a peace treaty with the other, however - and they have allowed us to have a third of their rather large car park, which they have painted up with green bays for our usage.
This means however, that every morning I have to drive to the wrong school, park up, and begin the long walk to my building. Through THE GATES OF HELL.
Welcome to another week in Special Education.
It is about 4, maybe 5 minutes walk from my car to my school now, which is annoying, but made more aggravating by the sequence of electronic gates that bar entry at regular intervals. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. They have padlocks on them for when the electronic fobs fail, which are even more annoying to access.
If you are carrying anything, you cannot get through the gate.
If you are in a hurry, you cannot get through the gate.
It is always raining. And you cannot get through the gate.
It takes a ridiculously long time, is extremely inconvenient and makes me angry every day.
And the best part? If I am ever running late, I have to run this ludicrous gauntlet, bags, umbrellas, keys and fobs in hand, through a million squawking, screeching, mainstream secondary students, shouting, swearing, making out, laughing, as I pick my way through their immovable crowd.
No, they never get out of the way.
I hate the gate. I hate the walk. I hate the fact it’s just so inefficient and wastes my time every day. I hate the fact I have to put everything down on the wet ground just to get in. I hate the fact that one third of the staff can park at the front in our own car park and avoid this daily aggravation. I hate the fact that I was honest and said I didn’t need a pass for our car park because I only work on the one site, and I hate the fact that half the people who do park there don’t have a pass but just park there anyway, and I’m too honest to do the same.
I hate the car park and I hate the gate.