Thank God It's Friday

23rd November 1995 at 00:00
Monday. I duck my part-time job (the one I am qualified and paid to do) in order to re-read the papers for the governors' meeting tonight. After much heart-searching and several years as chairman, I've decided to stand down so I also gather my thoughts on what to say and whom to thank.

The meeting goes according to plan but afterwards I can't settle, so in the early hours of the morning, I type letters of thanks to the teachers.

Tuesday. I write to the new chairman (away on holiday) to tell him of his election, and to thank him for being willing to take on the job. I write to thank a governor who has retired due to pressure of work, and to two people who volunteered for the co-option vacancy. No lessening of the work-load yet.

Back at school to run a club, I'm handed a letter from the head, expanding on his words of thanks to me last night. It's a smashing letter and I am pleased to reply with a tribute to him for being such a responsive and helpful head.

Wednesday. I continue to feel, as I have all week, that I've made a mistake. I understand now how people feel when they retire or take redundancy, however voluntarily. I do need more time and mental energy for my family but the school is under my skin even more than I realised. I've actually enjoyed tackling local management and now we're turning to more constructive issues like the curriculum I feel I should stay as involved as before.

Thursday. Today dawns more positive; after all, I can still be an active governor. It will be refreshing to have a change for me, for the governing body and for the school. It's the annual meeting tonight. In the absence of the new chairman, the vice-chairman is going to take it and I find myself relieved not to have to gear up for it. Like all our annual meetings, it's not well attended, but it's the only formal occasion for all the people who most support the school to get together staff, governors, PTA committee, and half a dozen stalwarts. Soon it's coffee time, and on to the AGM of the Friends of the School. Afterwards we chat over a drink.

Back home, I burst into tears on my husband's shoulder: 'I should have liked to be thanked!' I sleep for two hours and spend the rest of the night wondering what made everybody at the meeting seem so careless of the fact that something momentous was happening to me. Several years of hard work, seen and unseen, needed rounding off but my disappointment feels like my failure, not theirs.

Friday. I have to take the children to school and pray that my haggard appearance doesn't betray my tormented night. I'm too old for this caper. Sooner or later, I shall learn to shrug off the oversight. I shall bounce back next term but for a few hours I spit blood at the thought of doing any voluntary work ever again.

The author is a parent governor in East Anglia.

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