Now, without wishing to blow my own trumpet (although I was very good at that: MNQTH and I met whilst playing in a brass band!), I’m an organised kind of person. It is often said at work that I’m organised. It’s true: my lessons are always planned; I print out my resources at home so that I can photocopy them on the way past the printer as soon as I get into school. If someone asks me to do something at work, I do it straight away. I am an organised teacher. It has been said by one or two that I make them feel bad because I am so organised. So, to make those people feel better about the way they work, here’s a look behind closed doors. Once I stop being Mrs E and go back into me mode, the organisation isn’t quite as efficient.
I’m a wife, I’m a mother of two, and things at home rarely run as smoothly as they do in school. I pay someone to clean the house, so we have less to do at home, but still we live in a state of vaguely organised disarray. The day before the cleaner comes, we run around emptying bins which are overflowing, picking up piles of washing which didn’t make it to the washing machine and shoving them back in the already full washing baskets.
In the mornings, my choice of clothes is influenced by a) what is clean, b) what doesn’t need ironing (we often operate an “iron as you need it” policy) or c) what can be hung up while I have a shower so the steam un-creases it.
Breakfast often involves promises of buying bagels or croissants at lunchtime, echoed from the previous day because I had forgotten I’d made the promise when I went to Tesco. It also involves filling in the reading record I forgot to do the night before, hunting down the bag for G to take to the child minder (usually involving a trip out to the car) followed by another trip out there to find T’s drink bottle. Then washing up, whereby I leave most of the cutlery in the bowl, sitting in the water all day because I didn’t quite manage to remember to empty out the sink.
After a drop off at the child minder’s, a few hours of calm and organisation. Mrs E returns. All is well. Until I realise that I have forgotten to pick up/make any lunch and I haven’t ordered a school dinner. Cue a trip to Tesco to buy lunch and hastily grab something to feed the family with that can be made from scratch in under half an hour.
All is well again until the children’s pick up: reading, cooking, finishing the breakfast washing up all going on with a grumpy nearly-two-year-old wailing for a cuddle because she’s tired and hungry. It’s amazing how adept you can get at cooking one handed with a child on one hip! While the children are in the bath (not on their own, you understand – MNQTH is there too!!), there’s the frantic washing up/defrosting something from the freezer to cook a decent meal for tomorrow’s dinner/get the washing out of the tumble dryer/water the garden race before the planning marathon begins ready for tomorrow’s “calm exterior” at school.
When I fall into bed later, just as I’m dropping off, I remember the clothes for tomorrow that are still wet in the washing machine, and make a dash downstairs to hang them up and hope they dry by morning.
I may be ultra-organised when I’m at work, but that’s only one side of the real me. Another colleague commented not so long ago that she used to think I was scatty and ditsy, but apparently I’ve changed. Perhaps the scattiness and ditsiness is the real me and the organisation is just a façade … you see, I am human too.
So, is it just me? Are we the only family to live in this state of madness? Or is it common to the families of all teachers? Is it worse because we both teach? Perhaps we should be warning all of the eager NQTs about to embark on their careers exactly what chaos they are heading for!