Mermaid

I am sat in the most beautiful azure blue bath, sparkling with gold glitter, feeling like a beautiful mermaid.

My daughter bought me a relaxation bathing kit for my birthday in April. Since we don’t have the fire on until winter, I’ve waited until now for hot bath water.

The bath bomb was blue and the top looked like golden crystals:

I’m not a bath bomb fan per se – I’ve heard stories that they’re not always great for your skin – but this was a beautiful and expensive gift that I’ve waited to use. The bath looks and smells beautiful and I feel like I’m in a tropical lagoon.

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. As a child (teen), long before we worried about the price of electricity, I would have long showers pretending I was in a waterfall or tropical pool. I could construct a whole narrative.

I also used to play outdoors alone, imagining myself in magical worlds or giving myself superpowers. On my pony, I would imagine we were winding our way through narrow cobbled streets on a quest, not exercising in a grassy paddock.

I love being imaginative and creative. At the moment, I’m starting on the decorations for my step sister’s wedding cake. I craft, sew, paint and draw.

One of the many things I loved about being a teacher was planning exciting lessons. Having to complete pupil voice each year, it was pleasing to note that my schemes of work were often the most popular.

It’s what I miss about teaching. Now, lesson plans are standardised. Everyone teaches the same. And, I get it. Shared schemes save workload and support new/inexperienced/ supply teachers. I introduced shared schemes as a Head of Department. But, I rarely enforced them. We had common assessment points. We had set assessment objectives. But I allowed the creativity of the teacher and the necessity to adapt learning for the climate of an individual classroom to dictate how those assessment objectives were taught. Today, many schools feel like examination conveyor belts. Pupils and teachers are bored. I was bored.

Being a tutor means I can plan bespoke, individual lessons to allow these vulnerable and disengaged children to enjoy learning again and feel successful. I love it. I love this job. But the pay and conditions are poor. I’m not compensated for printing and buying resources, or the many miles I travel between houses. There’s no security.

Following my dabble with Mindvalley’s Lifebook earlier this week, I found a few additional resources online to help. I can’t afford the $500 price tag. So, I’ve got to do it myself and I’ve found maybe 1/2 of the tools to help me.

One area of consideration is career. I’ve realised, and probably known deep down for a long time, I no longer care about my career. I have no ego. I’m proud of my successes and sad about its demise but I don’t care anymore about titles and power and notches on my career belt. What I love, is helping children and being creative.

And that, in a nutshell, is what my long desired business is about.

For now, again, it is parked. I can’t afford it at the moment and my focus needs to be on making enough funds to survive, my son and my own mental health.

Today was horrendous. My anxiety had hit tsunami proportions. I was actually shaking – something I’ve not done for 5 years. Tomorrow I have a meeting in my son’s school – the school that ended my career – and I have to face going in there again and try to be strong and fight for what my son needs.

Thank you to my recent reader for liking ‘glamorous’, a post of mine from last month. I always read the post if it’s been liked and not recent. It’s amazing how coincidentally, my own words are pertinent. This was exactly that.

Wish me luck tomorrow.

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Too

I have completed my first “full” week of tutoring. Well, as full as it can be at present. I’ve got three full days and two afternoons. I’m loving those two mornings off but realistically I need to be earning more money.

Earlier in the week I was contacted by a teaching agency who had seen my CV online. I was invited to interview and the recruiter was very persistent in saying I could have full time work if I wanted in January. As a supply agency, I could also have short term and emergency cover if I wanted.

I was flattered at her persistence and agreed to go to the interview, which was this evening. I took everything I needed with me to work today, and planned to complete the application form over lunch.

I had a great day. I taught four session and three of those were 1:1. These new pupils could be potentially challenging- and I felt a little like a babysitter at first as I got the sense they were with me because the school couldn’t do anything else with them – but I worked my charm and they slowly but surely got on board.

These boys are only a year older than my own son. Added to that, I’ve always been able to get through to disaffected boys on the whole and get them on side. It’s what I’m good at.

The last session was cancelled so I decided to go and buy lunch before my interview. Except, I realised, I didn’t want to go. I get so much job satisfaction from this role. I don’t want to teach full time again, at the moment anyway. I enjoy working with small groups of pupils who often come to me with no confidence or self esteem. My aim is to give it them.

I’m pretty sure I’ve done the right thing but it has thrown up some questions for me.

How can I increase my income?

How long can I afford to do this?

Am I being selfish?

I still receive daily job emails and I’ve noticed that some of the tutoring agencies pay more. Like £10 an hour more. That’s potentially £250 a week more.

Problem is, I like this agency. It’s a small business and I like the way the owner thinks. He’s paying me the top of what he advertised but I’m wondering if I should have pushed for more when he asked what I was expecting. Weirdly, the agency I didn’t go to asked the same thing.

How do you price yourself? How do you ensure you are not asking too little or too much?

At present, I’m still on probation so I won’t be asking for a rise any time soon. But I will do in the future. The schools seem to be happy with me and 2 out of 3 have asked me to do more work. That’s bringing money in for him too.

For now, and at least until Christmas is over, I’m happy with what I’m doing.