Oh dear... It's started... I've just used my newly-acquired teacher's voice on the cat. I'm at the end of my first school placement. My creative juices are flowing on this PGCE course and the paperwork is piling up quite nicely. My first Christmas card from one of the children was lovely, despite the rather interesting phonetic spelling of "Mr Shakespeare". The words to the Christmas production songs are hardwired into my brain where they dance around merrily at inappropriate moments. I have developed a strong desire to tell off children in supermarkets and I don't want to throw anything away, just in case I could use it. I am becoming a teacher.
I also know this because it is Sunday morning and I've been staring at my laptop screen, desperately trying to think of something that will surpass last week's "Monsters" theme. Last week's session plans are in a pile waiting to be evaluated, worksheets are there to be stuck in books and that's before I've even thought about my university assignments...
But when all is said and done, on Sunday morning in my previous career as a retail manager, I would have been off to work, dealing with customers, faulty goods and generally building up to Christmas, where I would be over-worked and all for one day off. The words "merchandising" and "sale set-up" would send me into a nervous sweat.
And though you have to make a profit at the school Christmas fair, the levels of marketing and promotion are not as intense and the paying customer is generally a bit happier to be there.
So as I sit here with my to-do list growing rather than diminishing and paperwork stretching ahead of me until it seems to fill my whole career, I can smile, knowing that I actually have a Christmas this year and can spend some time with my family. I also know that, technically, I have every weekend off and I'm genuinely looking forward to going back to work. And for those of you who have a little wry smile about "weekends off", testing, marking, initiatives and behaviour management, it'll all be fine. Besides, if all else fails and I struggle with the children, I can always practise my techniques on the cat.
Ben Shakespeare is studying a primary PGCE at Manchester Metropolitan University.