The journey

After my experience in Slovenia (which I may write more about in 2020), I moved back in with my mother on a temporary basis before I was offered the opportunity to work as a History teacher on a 5-week contract at Castle Mead Academy in Leicester starting November 18th. I was very flattered that both Nicki Gray (the departing head of humanities) and Mr Tom Hague (the Principal) approached me for this temporary role.

Before starting this role (and throughout it), I’ve probably been at one of my lowest ebbs. Due to the ending of a relationship that was very important to me and my exit from a job I’d put a huge amount of hope and investment into, not least moving from Spain to Slovenia, I knew that any work before Christmas would be a push. Moving home only three weeks into the school year was never going to be easy. Nevertheless, as has always been the case through my various mental health struggles and life's peaks and troughs, teaching has always kept me going – its always been an aphrodisiac. I was well aware that when I accepted the job in Leicester, that although it would be a challenge to teach in these circumstances, if I could do it, then it would be really positive for me. The day before I started the contract, I started on sertraline. I’d been on this drug for around 18 months between September 2015 and April 2017. I was really pleased I’d managed to be drug free for so long, but due to this toxic culmination of factors, it was the right move to go back on them. They knocked me out for two weeks last time I started on them, this time wasn’t so bad, but I still suffered from intermittent bouts of lethargy. Now, 4 weeks on, they’ve started to kick in and level out, which is helping me through these days.

A few words about Castle Mead. From day 1, I felt very supported in the school. The SLT and staff were friendly, collegiate and professional. The school has high expectations permeating through it, and this was immediately noticeable in the standard of uniform on display from students and the manner in which students behave towards teachers. In my first days, I was already receiving many “good morning sirs”, pleases and thank-yous. The students are friendly, enthusiastic and spirited. As a temporary teacher, it was great the way the students seemed to normalise my presence there from the get go. I felt very at home in the classrooms and around corridors. I taught students the Norman Conquest unit and I think they enjoyed it! I’m sad to leave on Friday, but also happy I had a good experience. I wish the school community every success moving forward and would highly recommend anyone interested in a change of scene to give the school a visit.

Whilst I’ve been staying in Leicester, I’ve lived in the “comfort guest house” B and B and I have to say, Suzanne, the owner (and her mum!) have looked after me so much! Thanks to them. I’ll be returning to Leicester for a last few days work with CastleMead in January to aid transition so I’ll be staying with them again. Do say hello from me if you ever stay there yourself.

So, from January onwards, I’ll once again be seeking work. I’m available for history teaching contracts (part time or full time) – I can potentially move anywhere. If you want me to do some work in terms of training/coaching, then check out the page on my website. I’m also looking at running a few of my own events in the new year. Please feel free to contact me via my website or twitter. Thanks for all your support as always.

Tom

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