Monday, October 07, 2013


Out of the ether: a message of goodwill and touching base again after a longish delay, eyebrow raising about the speed at which time passes, and incredulous disbelief at the whooshing sound that was the summer past.  And there, a few lines in, the shyly proffered apple.

I suppose that for a retired teacher (as I am trying to be) there is nothing that strikes at the firm foundations of your stony rejection of your previous employment like the offer of work for a couple of weeks in a school which is hop, a step and a partial jump from where I am living.  I am asked to teach, therefore I am - a teacher!

In spite of all my protestations about finally turning from educator to educatee, I did feel a tiny tug of interest – but the lingering depredations of terminal (in the sense that it is at last going) bronchitis are a useful reminder of reality, and I was able to type a firm, but friendly rejection of employment to the school.

Pity, because there is nothing quite like showing your face in a crowded staff room to universal approbation because, if you are there and taking an absent colleague’s place, then they are not going to lose a free period with any luck!  I do not kid myself that I was valued for my wit and insight; it was my physical presence in front of a class rather than theirs that kept them sweet!

However, that is in the past.  The present and the immediate future concerns the Examination – which has now progressed from a vague date in the first third of the month of October, to a word which fully merits its capital letter and something which is frighteningly prescient.  I am now in Phase II of Revision which is reducing what I have to know to a series of key words, phrases and dates – all of which need to contain resonances which will flower into clear, lucid prose on Thursday afternoon!

But the sun is shining and I know, deep in my bones, that I should be taking the last of the late summer, early autumn sun before the gloom of winter sets in.  I compromised and set outside clutching a sheaf of papers on which the cryptic runes for Thursday were written.

I am not one of those people who plan their revision so that for the last five or six days you simply do nothing but allow the information to settle.  I revise until the last moment.  Unlike a friend in college who stopped working a week before her exams.  She was someone with a photographic memory and could tell you exactly what we were doing on this exact date last year and the year before that and the year before that and . . . Something my mind (I have only a fuzzy idea of what I was doing yesterday) cannot even begin to imagine.  And yes, we did test her, and she was right!  She was able to imagine textbooks in her mind and read down to the information that she needed!  One exclamation mark seems woefully inadequate, but stylistically I cannot bring myself to commit the solecism of more than one!

So I am happily typing my list of words and phrases and, with time ticking away, I find that I am actually ahead of my planned revision timetable.  Though, I also have to admit that there is a fair bit of learning in the revision too!  Though what can we be fairly expected to write when we have only 500 words per question?

But with the Phase II revision, by lunchtime I should be a whole volume ahead of myself.  At this rate Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning will be a simple matter of reading over what I have typed and working out what my laconic comments might mean.

Way to go!
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