Wednesday, 22 October 2008

London Unscripted

Today is one of those days that just won’t end. It has been a long and tiring – and altogether emotionally draining. I had a terrible day in the classroom. Wait…no…I didn’t…I was informed that I had a terrible day in the classroom. I am at a loss to understand this world that I have entered. Never have I seen what I am being exposed to in London. Do I feel any moderate levels of support? Not really. The only people who are supporting me are the people furthest removed from the situation – my mother and my friends (including a poor guy in Leeds who doesn’t deserve my daily breakdowns).

I keep asking myself – wouldn’t it just be easiest to pack it in and go home? God yes, it really would. That’s a given. But what do I go home to? A minimum wage job that won’t pay my bills? Two minimum wage jobs that won’t pay? How about three part-time minimum wage jobs that don’t pay? I don’t think I have a choice – I need to make this work, or die trying. My hometown has just lost another 300 jobs – what the hell am I going to do there?

Recently I told my friend – we don’t need to know the end result, we just need to deal with the present. I’m the one who isn’t dealing with the present though. I keep looking at this whole situation from the long term – keep thinking that I can’t do this for 3, 6, 12 months. I’m not seeing this from a daily perspective. I can fairly easily get home - its not impossible. Home is a mere plane ride away and therefore not insurmountable. I need to deal with this.

I have spent my afternoon reading blogs written by other Canadian teachers struggling in London. I’m not alone. These teachers have had objects thrown at them in the classroom (Oh what I have to look forward to!). I have read news articles on the record number of British teachers leaving the profession because it is too difficult to be a teacher in England. I am not alone then. I think the problem is, is that I am not used to outright failure. And today that is how I feel – like a failure. I am failing myself, the people close to me, my agency – everyone. It would just be so easy to give up right now.

I don’t understand it though. In a country that prides itself on its “stiff upper lip” and “high standards of behaviour” (buzz terms that you will hear repeatedly), I am at a loss to understand why things are the way they are. It makes virtually no sense to me. I have heard recruiters compare teaching in London to teaching in Toronto. I have friends who teach in Toronto – I have never heard the stories that I hear out of London. Is this an example of the deviousness of recruiters? I don’t know. I’m at such a loss. I trained for 8 years in Anthropology – I’ve tried to look at this from a cultural perspective. I realize that culture plays a huge part of this. I’m still too new to understand it though. Maybe I am just better off in anthropology or archaeology. I want to make this work though. How can I do that? That brings me to tomorrow…

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