The show's over and it's time to go

9th February 1996 at 00:00
You think I'm making notes on the film you're watching but I'm not. True, I'm looking, pausing and writing as if I'm taking it all in and recording the significant points which you expect me to spoon-feed next lesson. Actually, what I'm really doing is recording this feeling of relief to be getting out and away from your anger, your hate and, most of all, your complete indifference to me, to school, to yourselves even.

But it's not me you hate. It's what teachers have come to stand for, not for who I really am. It wouldn't matter who sat here watching you watching the film: you'd still feel the same. Your increasing contempt for my efforts to provide a different perspective on your studies, the screwed up notes that litter the floor when you leave, your lack of care and concern about yourselves and your work have alienated me. Your arrogance and your apparent pride in your own ignorance bewilders me.

Once, not so long ago, I loved this. Loved it so much. For 15 years I really thought I was being paid to enjoy myself, could not comprehend how the other teachers at my first school could be so cynical, so world weary. I never thought I'd arrive at the same spot on the map. I used to arrive a good hour before lessons started, even earlier in the summer on my motorbike, to prepare work and run off materials; used lunch breaks and after school time to run productions, theatre and skating trips, and referee matches. Weekends and holidays were taken up with ski trips, drama and sports clubs. Right through to '91: only five years ago, only yesterday. That's how I want to remember it: that's why I'm going.

So on Friday I leave. Your regular teacher returns from maternity leave after the weekend. It's the money you see: she needs it though I would guess from my one conversation with her that she'd rather stay at home with her baby. She's sad to be back: I'm so glad to be leaving. She'll have the money but I shall have the time.

Time to think, to read, to recover my poise, to find out what I want to do and what I want to be, for I no longer want to do or be this.

That's it, the film's over. One of those modern unhappy endings.

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