Friday, 17 June 2011

Call off the Dogs



D'you know, it's a funny thing, but all that black doggery has diminished somewhat. I got up at four yesterday morning because I couldn't sleep for nasty thoughts, and started the day feeling like a man awaiting execution. I went into my class with the aim of introducing my charges to the idea that attention to the considerations of theme and rheme would make their paragraphs more highway than scrapyard. My hands were trembling - not because I have not done this before, as I have, loads of times, but because it was as if I had forgotten it all and was bluffing my way through it, as well as being the only one aware of some imminent disaster of an unspecified nature. Well, we got on with things and nobody died, bloodshed was minimal, and I wasn't marched off to the cry 'deyde man walken! We gad us a deyde man walken heeya!' and by lunchtime I felt easier. After lunch, we did a reading passage. I made sure I had the teacher's book to hand as I didn't trust myself not to get snagged up in the pointless complexity of IELTS texts. The students did, of course, but that's what they pay for, so I suppose they were happy... or maybe that's not why they were there... like I say, I was a bit vague. Anyway, standing on platform two waiting for the 15.18 home, I realised my hands were not trembling, my guts were not rolling, circumstances were no brighter, but, you know, who cares? Even fantasies of smacking people's heads in for open-mouth gum chewing had left my mind. After ten days when paranoid, four-in-the-morning insomniac thoughts had occupied my mind all day and all night, they finally fell into some perspective. Some mental rubbish I had swallowed had been digested and shat out. Not a pretty image, I know, but one that feels apt.

I'm always surprised how suddenly a period of gloom starts and fizzles out, and how, once it's fizzled out, it seems so strange that one could have felt it so real. I'm tired from so little sleep and so much bloody pointless worrit for ten days, so nobody's in for a scintillating lesson today, but normal service is expected to resume after the weekend.

Many thanks to those who offered kind comments and kicks up the arse here, on facebook and by e-mail.

10 comments:

Fionnchú said...

The performative role of teaching, I find after nearly 27 years at it, does force us out of our funk. Having to get up and entertain as well we hope educate for hours at a time pushes us out of our labyrinth. Even if off-stage I'm not a people person, I get my daily doses of contact with dozens of others, and that balances my predilections towards eremeticism and asceticism! I sense it's the same for you, VS?

Vilges Suola said...

Spot on. I need the sense of a performance well delivered and I feel genuine affection for my students, but it's always a bit of a struggle against the feeling of 'I vant to be alone.'

David Warr said...

So no more blogs then??

Vilges Suola said...

Sure! just need the material.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i've been teaching for nearly 25 years - there are often days like this, every year, when i feel like bluffing my way through it; those are the days i prefer a teacher's answer book, despite not needing it any other day

Vilges Suola said...

Same here - on Thursday I felt like a beginner, and on Friday completely back in control. Weird.

ydnacblog said...

Hail to thee conquering hero! Veddy veddy pleased to heeah yow are back in the main frame - and jolly well done for toughing it out, unlike some people we know who keeping chugging the beiges.

PS - Bash that Sunday monster too

Vilges Suola said...

Thank you, and thank you for the support!

ydnacblog said...

Absolutely NO PROBLEM at all of any kind whatsoever.....

Vilges Suola said...

:)

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