It was the final day of my first year of teaching. I did TeachFirst. so I had my own class from day one, and they were my babies and mine alone from October. I had a really enjoyable year, learned so much and enjoyed teaching such a brilliant bunch of kids. It sounds as though I am leading you on here, but genuinely, despite having not-enough-money-to-live, no social life and no free time, I was still coming home every day happy, and still getting up keen to go in.
It was the final day with my Year 4s and I had planned for us to have a day of party games, binge-eating and dancing. I was pretty jubilant, having just been informed that I had done really well in my PGCE grading. I hopped onto Facebook just before leaving for the tube.
Jonny Walker: If I survive today, that’ll be my first year done! Wahey!
Or something to that effect.
The morning was great fun. I shared my video with the kids, which was a DVD highlight reel of our year. We went out and played a bit of cricket, then had a party and played Musical Statues. At lunch, the teachers popped out to the local Tandoori for an end of year dindins. The afternoon was a chilled one, and it was time for an Elmhurst tradition: The Teachers vs Year 6 Leavers football match,
My kids were keen enough to watch, and they all got the best seat on the touchline. The teachers were badly outnumbered – four of us versus ten of them. Nonetheless, we got off to a good start and took the lead. The crowds grew, and all of Year 4 5 and 6 were out there. Barry, the PPA teacher, swung in a high cross and I sprinted towards it. It was high, but if I could keep it in, we could do some damaged. I leaped up, but had been running so fast, I lost all control. I cartwheeled in the air, missed the ball completely, and landed smack on the concrete. I had never broken a bone, but I knew immediately that my arm was smashed. It was poking up against the skin.
The pain was ridiculous and I looked to my kids, who were really confused what was going on. I said I needed to go, but as I left I began crying. I went to the office and got the staffroom to come, who mistakenly weighed down my break with a heavy ice pack. It was decided taht I needed to go to A&E and an ambulance was called.
I composed myself in the staffroom, with a cold tea towel on my head, and insisted that I still needed to see the kids, it being the last day and everything. I still had the gifts for them, so I asked one of the teachers to grab them from my class and bring them. I asked for someone to bring my kids and I tried to ‘man up’ a bit.
The kids were brought into the staffroom and about half of them were in floods of tears because they had realised that I had broke it. My resolve to man up withered within seconds, and seeing them so upset and concerned about me made me cry. Then the rest of the kids joined in. IT was deeply surreal, and I ended up just giving them the gifts while we wept.
Staff agreed it was one of the weirdest things they had ever witnessed.
I got in the ambulance and suffice it to say that I had a horrific ordeal both with the ambulance men, who thought I was being a sissy and had just sprained it, and manhandled me. The hospital was awful, with the doctor who initially saw me being undermined by his colleague, and he told me “Well he outranks me, he is wrong, but he is saying you should just go home. If you get any form of deformity in your arm, this is his name and contact details in case you want to sue him.”
“I don’t want money, I want arm” I replied, amusingly.
In the end, I refused to go unless they gave me some drugs and then they decided again to do more for me. They cast me up with one of them horrible half-pots that are crazy heavy, and chucked a bucket of morphine in me.
I called a taxi to go home at about 7, then had a change of heart. It was the final day of the year, and the staff were all meeting at the Thailander restaurant in Stratford for our end-of-year meal. I told the taxi driver to take me to the Thailander.
When I stepped in, Abi – one of my colleagues – got everyone to sing ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’ and I just felt as though I had fully gone through the right of passage of becoming a teacher.
I had to endure a lot of surgery through the whole summer, but in a weird way, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. It cemented the end of my year with the kids and I had lots of gifts and cards sent to me by the kids and their parents in the summer, which I liked. In an odd way, it established me with my colleagues.
A real #teachinghighlight