Last week was my final week where I was covering a colleague's role while she was on Annual leave. My last week working double my normal hours. By the end of the four weeks the house was starting to come apart at the seams. The laundry was running behind, the standard of cleanliness was falling to cringeworthy levels. I was so looking forward to starting this week with energy and enthusiasm. I pictured Monday being a day where I would clean the entire house top to bottom, fill the pantry, fridge and freezer to bursting point, put on loads of washing, sheets flapping on the washing line while the smell of jasmine filled the air...
Then my phone rang last week. It was the High School asking if I was free to be a reader/writer for the year 12 HSC trials over the coming two weeks. They have a great system whereby parents volunteer their time in exam weeks to work one-to-one with students that need some extra help. You either read the questions to them and let them write the answers themselves or you can also write for them. It could be something simple like a kid who has fallen off their skateboard and has their arm in a cast, it might be a sight impaired student or someone who has dyslexia or just gets overwhelmed in a hall full of row upon row of desks.
When I was in High School I don't remember any extra help for students. You just sat your exams with everyone else. Inevitably some kids fell through the cracks. They found school challenging and didn't get any extra support to help them reach their potential. It's really good how things work now. How could I say no?
And so tonight there is still ironing to be done, I wouldn't advocate eating off the floors, even the cleanliness of the kitchen counter tops are questionable. I never did get stripping the beds. The air sure doesn't smell of Jasmine!
But I had a great day. I wrote solid for what seemed to be an eternity. My right hand went numb from gripping a pen tight and writing as fast as my student was speaking. I was reminded how tough school can be. The fear as you sit at your desk waiting to be told to turn the paper over. How your heart can sink as you read the questions and don't immediately know how to answer them. The slow and steady pace that builds up as you get over the initial nerves. The writing so fast as the final minutes tick down and you want to get every last idea from your brain onto the answer booklet. The sigh and slump of shoulders as the teacher calls time and walks towards you hand outstretched for the papers. Turning to the person next to me knowing that they put their 110% into the last few hours and seeing the worry fall from their face as they know they are one more exam down.
The being told "Thank you", unprompted and with genuine meaning. Not just once but two, three times.
Did today turn out how I had first planned?
But I wouldn't have it any other way.