Friday, 11 November 2016

"I Have Tried, In My Way, To Be Free"

Fourteen years more or less to the day I was doing my diagnostic teaching practice ("diagnostic" basically meaning "determining whether you'll fold more or less immediately upon actually coming in contact with students").  The school I was working at was not an easy one. 26% A*s to C at GCSE, major discipline issues, a catchment area utterly ravaged by Thatcher murdering the mining industry.

I dreaded every day I spent there.

So did the two other trainee teachers I used to hitch a lift with. Every journey into work felt like a vigil. It was the most important time for us to give each other emotional support, and the time at which we felt the most dejected and drained and alone and unable to reach out. We tried, but even working in the same building, there was just too much distance between the specifics of what we were facing.

Then one day Vivienne took her eyes off the road for long enough to grab for a CD.

"Check this out, Ric," she called back to me. "This guy is just so bitter and sarcastic."

The disc went in.

"You'll love him."

And this song started up. And he was, and I did.

Goodbye, Mr Cohen. You helped when we needed helping. Thank you for that.

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