When I accepted my teaching position the first emotion I felt was joy. The second was panic. Luckily I know what to do with panic – sublimate it into plans, schedules and lists (so many lists). I had three weeks in which I planned to drive to the school, do some casual days, find a house, drive back, buy furniture and arrange for delivery, arrange for electricity and gas and internet, get a new phone, help run a training day for ISS volunteers, babysit my cousin’s kids overnight, MC an engineering challenge, take 30 students to Taronga Zoo, pack up my belongings, move house, build all of my flat-pack furniture, and plan all of my lessons for the first week.
Too easy, right?!?
With the help of friends, family and colleagues I actually managed to stay on top of things through the first and second week. My three days teaching at the school were fantastic. I got to meet my future classes, watch the other teachers in action, and get to know the people I’ll be working with. I stayed the the spare room of the head teacher of science, which was brilliant for many reasons, but in particular her husband was the physics teacher at the school before he retired, so the chance to pick his brains was invaluable.
(I’ve just realised that if I’m going to be blogging about these people frequently, it might be worth giving them pseudonyms. Maybe Albert for the physicist and Nettie for the biologist?)
Anyway, the first warning sign that it was all about to go horribly wrong was when my cousin rang and let me know that his two year old daughter (henceforth referred to as “Plaguechild”) had a cough and a fever. Now it should be said that Plaguechild was actually fairly easy to babysit. She took her medicine without a fuss, played nicely with her brother, and went to bed early. She did, however, forget to cover her mouth while coughing about half the time. So when I woke up on Saturday with a sore throat, I knew who was to blame.
I will spare my readers the grosser details of the last week of my life. I will mention that for several days the only thing I could taste was garlic. And that my temperature regulation was so out of whack that the only way I could tell whether I was freezing cold or dangerously overheated was to stick my hands in my armpits and check. And I went through an entire box of tissues in three days, even though I was taking decongestants every four hours. And I’m still sick a week later. Damn you, Plaguechild.
Thanks to my parents and a family friend driving out here on Friday I am actually set up and unpacked (thank you, thank you, thank you!). The part of the schedule that really went awry was my plan to do a whole bunch of lesson planning in advance. What I have done, instead, is outlined the first day, with a heavy reliance on activities that don’t involve me talking much, just in case my voice is still croaky. Ah well, the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…