“It’s strange,” says DearHeart, as we try to attach the door, “but I keep thinking that you’ve retired.” DearHeart herself took an early retirement before moving to a bungalow. I guess her subconscious now links a lack of stairs with a general liberation from the corporate ladder.
I call Pa to tell him that we’re a nut short of a greenhouse, then we saunter round to raid his tool box. On the way, I realise that her subconscious must have Friended mine because I also can’t get my head around the prospect of having to stop playing houses in order to go and teach.
No-one wants to go back to work after a holiday, natch. As LittleBro points out to anyone who complains about their job, it’s called Work and not Play for a reason. He doesn’t take prisoners, my brother.
But generally I appreciate the compensations at the start of a new school year. Most important of which, of course, is the reason why most of us came into teaching – the prospect of a class-full of shiny new stationery. Crisp exercise books in a range of colours to arrange at whim. Gel pens in a range of colours which will make it so much easier to keep up to date with the marking this year. Highlighters in a range of colours which will make assessment sheets fun to complete, honestly. And, for those who have been really really good, a Pritt-stick or two.
I could also write about the prospect of getting to know a fresh class and helping them to access our shared culture but we all know that comes a poor second to a new diary.
September’s fresh start is also a big bonus for those of us of a Resolving disposition. This year, I really will stay up to date with my marking (the gel pens will help). I won’t take work home. I will not spend all of Sunday planning. I will produce outstanding displays with interactive questions. (But how?).
Teaching is a bit of a winner in this respect. Most jobs carry on while you’re away, but when I walk into my classroom on Tuesday, it will be as I left it four weeks ago. Maybe a bit of penicillin in forgotten lunchboxes and some thirsty spider plants but there’s unlikely to be a backlog of children in the corner waiting to be taught.
It’ll be all right when I get there, I suppose.
But I’m writing this from the tub-chair by the open picture-window looking out into our new garden. At the moment, it’s a scrubby square of lawn surrounded by a severe path bordered by – well, borders. Neglected borders of dandelions and rampant ivy and elderly roses just calling out to be loved. I have plans; such plans. And a greenhouse which has a door and everything. I’m just not ready for the summer to end yet: I want to play houses for a bit longer. Just another month? Please?
Here’s an idea. I could try and persuade Mr Headteacher that, in order to enhances children’s digital competence and strengthens their bonds with the community, teaching by Skype from a domestic setting is allowed – no, positively encouraged – by the new Computing Curriculum. No-one else will have read it. And I won’t tell, if you don’t.