I've finally taken the plunge. After six years of service, back in May, I reluctantly decided to throw in the towel and move on, hopefully to sunnier climes. At the time, the small matter of not having another job lined up didn't really register. I just needed to escape.
So, for the second time in my career, I'm closing my eyes, holding my breath and diving into the darkest depths of uncharted waters, otherwise known as the murky world of supply teaching. Back in 2008 - the last time I worked as an itinerant child-herder - I spent nine months working the circuit in and around Hertfordshire. Needless to say, it was tough, so I'm under no illusions. As an unfamiliar presence threatening their settled, though precarious ecosystem, most children, very much like a band of paranoid chimpanzees, initially view you with deep suspicion, if not hostility. It is up to you to allay these fears and build their trust. No easy task.
So far I've registered with three agencies, but, annoyingly, I'm still awaiting my DBS certificate - a certificate I applied for back in June. As if it needs saying: until it arrives, I can't work. It really is a huge inconvenience that's playing cruel tricks on my imagination. Could it possibly be that small brush with the law I had back in '97 - the night of Princess Diana's tragic death? I wonder. Perhaps. I did receive a formal caution for the unforgivable misdemeanor of lifting up a couple of windscreen wiper arms, after all. After being handcuffed, bundled into the back of a jam sandwich (underworld jargon for police car) and thrown into a cell, I was fingerprinted and charged with vandalism. Vandalism! I only raised a couple of windscreen wipers, for God's sake: hardly Ronnie Biggs stuff.
Anyway, I'm sure I'm catastrophising; I'm sure they're not going to hark back to something I did at the age of eighteen. More to the point: I've had DBS checks before - of course I have - and they've always come back clear. It's just the wait. I need to work and, believe it or not, I'm actually looking forward to getting back into the classroom.
This year I've decided to log my experiences in an effort to capture the fun, myriad vicissitudes and sheer madness of the profession from the perspective of a supply teacher. Apart from that brief period I mentioned earlier, I've only ever worked as a permanent member of staff. I'm glad I've taken the leap, but do feel anxious. Will it prove fruitful? I do hope so...