Last Week Of School and emails drift in like flurries of snow on a January evening. Probably not the best analogy to use in the height of summer, but it’s all my aching brain can come up with. Many emails concern themselves with Lists Of Things To Remember (aka Knowledge Organisers) and Homework, including what feel like endless conversations around Sanctions for Not Completing Homework, where said Homework is about remembering things on aforementioned Lists. Fight urge to ask colleagues philosophical question of ‘What Is The Purpose Of Remembering Things On Lists?’ and instead take great pleasure in deleting emails in devastating purge of Inbox.
One day to go.
One week to go. Spent some time earlier in week listening to presentation by a colleague about mental health in young people. Very saddened to see statistics showing alarming increase in mental health diagnoses in 15 – 19 year olds in particular and shake head at State Of This Country. Saddened and a little shocked to then see data about mental health of teachers appearing to show significant numbers would be classified as being very close to clinically depressed. Not entirely sure why this should come as surprise but shake head once again at State Of This Country.
Consider mental health of own leadership team with one week to go and decide there is no-one who could be described as Entirely Sane or Normal as meeting this morning descends into chaotic cacophony of Everyone Talking and No-One Listening. As always at This Time Of Year the focus of all talk is around Things That Need Completing, where Things That Need Completing actually rarely need completing at all. At least not immediately. End of term hysteria however prevents us all from seeing this fact as anything more than ridiculously vague blob on horizon.
Consider own mental health with one week to go and conclude it is on no firmer ground than any other colleague’s. Proof delivered from fact that on three separate occasions in past week have found self reduced to sobbing fountain of tears on reading most innocuous and disparate texts about faith, meditation, song writing and collecting promotional items from sporting events. Feel eternally grateful that on each occasion only witness was cat who miaowed encouragingly. Convince self cat language can be translated as ‘I love you and am here for you’ when in reality it is more likely to mean ‘my food dish appears to be empty’.
On writing this immediately find difficulty focusing on screen from blurred eyes. One week to go.
Three weeks to go, and every meeting I attend feels infused with the rising scent of hysteria. Tonight’s meeting hijacked at one point by conversation veering wildly into realms of fantasy involving (if I read the signs correctly) suggestions of senior leaders also entering into role of Heads of Year. Sit on hands and forcibly resit temptation to ask if what colleagues are describing (in wildly spiralling crescendo of manic exuberance) is not actually part of current House Leaders’ job descriptions. Meeting also derailed somewhat by J describing in excruciating detail the level of micro-management involved in carrying out what I had, perhaps in my naiveté, always assumed to be little more than a symbolic support mechanism for House structure. In moment of comparative sanity T asks quietly what impact J’s remarkable level of work has had and feel momentarily safe in believing self to be Not Alone.