Lurking over the horizon




Two things are lurking in the horizon – the return to work and the January Blues. Neither are particularly welcome starts to 2014.

Jake and Jenna want to get back to School and Playgroup but I’d rather not head to work on Monday. I’d love to be on a plane heading off somewhere for a bit of winter sun and fun. Before I got into teaching I used to love going away in the first week or two of the year as it was the perfect antidote to the miserable world that everyone slumped into on the return to the workplace. Not only was it much cheaper than the summer holiday breaks but you really needed some sunshine and relaxation after the chaos and non-stop darting about that the Festive period threw at you.

We had a couple of trips to the Canaries which, at this time of year, are usually enjoying the weather of a really good British Summer with temperatures of mid twenties during the day – just a great contrast to the wind, rain, sleet, snow and general greyness of Aberdeen in January. You can see it everyone’s faces as the first day of work comes around again – for some I know that was today, others had to work through, but the majority will return on Monday to the giant hamster wheel of work. I think it’s worse for the teachers/lecturers that know that they haven’t a decent break until Easter now and the longest and hardest term lies before them with coursework and prelims overwhelming them. At least I won’t have that this term having escaped.

I’ve always argued that there is a strong case for an extra week’s holiday following the two weeks we’ve just had instead of two in October. You come back to an eight week term after six weeks off – you don’t need two weeks then, but you really need three weeks now. I’m convinced that we would all be happier going back a week later because we’re all just getting things back in order from New Year and we’re thrown back on the conveyor belt. And January is long; it drags out both because of the lack of light, but also the distinct lack of money if you were paid before Christmas. The days are long, the snow usually appears at some point and you get headaches from the fluorescent lights that make everyone look sickly at the best of times.  At least we’re not in Scandinavia where the days are even shorter – does explain the high suicide rates…

For me there is the added issue of wanting to break out of my current position – the people at work are lovely and the majority of the students are great, interesting and hardworking – but I just want to go now and I dread the thought of still being there come the Easter break and having to return again after that. Fingers crossed things happen sooner rather than later on the job front but I’m aware it could take a bit of time to make the kind of move I really want to. You still go in and do your best because you want your students to be successful, but you find the little niggily things are magnified and collated in your head to make things seem worse than they actually are and you can’t help but dread the thought of going in.

Fingers crossed for the big win on the lottery tonight or tomorrow and I can stay in bed Monday!


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