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Once more unto the breach



"For in the day of trouble, he will keep me safe in his dwelling", Psalm 27:5


My much-anticipated appointment at the Fracture Clinic yesterday turned out to be a rather drab affair. It consisted mainly of me waiting in a cubicle for a very long time for a consultant to appear who then yanked my arm in various directions before declaring that I was 'functional' once more. Provided I don't have aspirations to take up the shot put or become a professional trapeze artist, I can go back to my normal routine, which includes returning to work next term in a secondary school in Warwickshire.


By the time I go back, I will have gone nearly nine months without teaching a 'proper' lesson in a 'real' classroom. I am very conscious that some people will think I 'dodged a bullet' by sitting out what turned out to be the most challenging and chaotic term in any teacher's career since the beginning of the 20th century but I wouldn't recommend a comminuted four-part fracture of the proximal humerus to anyone. The first two months were the worst bit with the constant discomfort leading to a lack of sleep and all kinds of problems remembering things and concentrating on anything much. My arm wouldn't budge an inch and, at one point, my physio thought that there might be damage to my nerves which would have been very serious. Since I got some movement back, boredom has been the main problem. I am now at the rather embarrassing point where people watching me do my exercises might suspect me of being right-wing extremist declaring my allegiance to a rather unpopular mid-20th century dictator. I spend my days taking cans in and out of cupboards and clocking up as many steps as I can every day. When I was last in school, a typical day involved about 13,000+ steps.


In the intervening time, the school has changed almost beyond recognition. The timetable isn't the same for one thing; it's not just the classes, either, but the times of day that have changed, too. And, for at least another term, the staff will live like nomads, trekking around the site with all their worldly goods in a rucksack. There's new technology to get my head around and over two hundred children who I haven't even met yet because they joined the school in September. I am given to understand that my substitute teacher has done an excellent job but, for me, it will be a new school year at a time when everyone else is already up to speed. I'll have to re-learn all the names that I've forgotten since last March, set up my mark books, decide on my seating plans. I will have to hit the ground running, even sprinting.


But I am looking forward to it. I've missed my examination classes, my tutor group and my colleagues who have been to Hell and back while I have been able to do little more than watch Bargain Hunt and Celebrity Masterchef. I've become something of a fan of The Repair Shop, too, in which battered heirlooms are put back together so they can continue to be used for years to come.


I've been in a repair shop of sorts myself these last few months. Hopefully, I am now fit for purpose again.





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