Away with the witches

31st October 2003 at 00:00
My PGCE lecture finishes at 3.30pm and I rush to Leicester university library, dig out a video of Macbeth and an old copy of the play. I've not read it for 15 years and we have a full day tomorrow on the art of teaching Shakespeare, focusing on the deranged Scot.

At 6.30pm I rush out of the library, rush to my car and rush to the Phoenix Arts Theatre for a discussion about John Steinbeck, followed by a showing of The Grapes of Rush. No, calm down, that should be The Grapes of Wrath. I sneak a sandwich and a pint bottle of Budvar into the theatre with me. At 8.15pm the excellent lecture finishes - but do I stay for the film or rush to Nottingham for an open-mike poetry evening? Reading my own poems to 40 drunken undergraduates could be very useful preparation for delivering poetry to Year 11, so I rush up the M1 and then hunt for a free parking space in Nottingham town centre.

A tramway is being installed in Nottingham and while there are no trams yet, there is a spaghetti-junction array of tracks carved into most roads.

The tracks are hypnotic and lure me forwards up a one-way street the wrong way. Rush, rush, rush, I shouldn't be here, and that car shouldn't be there! Crash, crash, crash.

My car is scattered over a crossroads, one policeman is cautioning me, another is interviewing witnesses and another is preparing a breathalyser test. I pass the test, phone my ex-husband and burst into tears. The RAC arrive and tow my car away as the three policemen turn to each other, shake their heads and assert that "It looks like a write-off". I know how it feels - I am able to empathise with a Ford Ka and I'm not even on class A drugs. Later that night, after sharing a half bottle of Irish whiskey with a handy Nottingham friend, I dream of being arrested by three witches.

Arriving a few minutes late for my lecture the next morning, I'm a little sweaty and still wearing yesterday's clothes, so I choose to sit at a table on my own and endure the self-critical dramatic monologues screaming in my brain. In the breaks between discussing Macbeth, intended learning outcomes and various theatrical approaches, I phone my insurance company, my childminder, national rail enquiries and the police.

Back at home I have a deep bath and a bottle of Budvar. I gaze at the bathroom ceiling and realise that although I've not even started my teaching practice yet, I'm already counting the days to the Christmas holiday.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today