Holiday's over. What a comedown. Back to school. Forgive me for my lacklustre approach to the new term, but it's going to be difficult to be a plain old teacher after being a bride for most of the summer. I've tried to summon up some enthusiasm by telling myself that the English framework is entering its second exciting year and I can now join the accessibility strategy working group, but somehow even immersion in the latest government initiative is failing to energise me like it used to.
OK, so I complained non-stop about the trivial aspects of getting married, but secretly I loved being the centre of attention. Everyone is so nice to you. My colleagues were amazing. As well as being permanently willing to put aside their marking and listen to me bellyaching about my mother-in-law, they presented me with champagne, flowers, presents and chocolates as the day approached. My students were eerily willing to work for me in exchange for the last 10 minutes of every lesson being spent on filling them in on the latest. The agonies of decision-making over my flowers meant they were all qualified florists by the end of term. On my last morning, my form presented me with a big wedding card with: "You go, grill" inscribed on the front. A resounding testament to a year's worth of teaching, if I say so myself. It was all a bit like being an NQT again. Everyone was prepared to overlook my cock-ups because of "wedding stress", and when I managed to pull anything off, their admiration was overwhelming. It's nice to feel loved, even if it is only for a few weeks.
The holidays passed with preparation in full flood; my mum became more like a caricature of a Jewish mother every day, and my dad took lessons from Steve Martin on being a grumpy father-of-the-bride. I was so excited about the big day that I forgot I was going on honeymoon, so to wake up groggily on a plane to San Francisco came as a bit of a shock. It was even more unnerving to find myself abroad without any marking at the bottom of my bag. Of course, its function is never to get marked, just to lurk in your room as a symbolic reminder that you are a teacher and are programmed not to forget it, even abroad. I remember sitting round the pool last year with a pile of Sylvia Plath essays hoping that some teacher might see them and offer to explain what her poetry meant. But wow, a holiday without marking: it was nice, in a guilty kind of way. Just enjoying time with my new husband, I felt as if I was committing adultery against school.
But I'm aware that there's nothing more annoying than a bride who tries to relive her moment of glory. This term I've got to knuckle down to paperwork and let other new brides take over my spotlight. I'm preparing for a brief renaissance when the photographs come, but now that the excitement of seeing a new name above my pigeonhole has worn off, it's back to the daily grind. My wedding books warn of post-marriage depression. They say to expect it, but to gradually re-immerse yourself in normal life and to get used to entering a room without everyone clustering round to see your ring. I'll try, I will. "I will get thin" will be replaced by "I will love administration" as my mantra. Failing that, there is one option for keeping the spotlight burning. Anyone having a baby?
Gemma Warren is an assistant special needs co-ordinator at a London secondary school. Email: email@example.com