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Interlude 2: Marcel’s teaching experience

05 Oct

My fellow WordPress blogger Marcellous has written a funny and honest account of  life as an English teacher, even if he hints at a darker side. I can relate only too well to “scheming against a female head of English” as I saw that (and the reverse: a head of English scheming against the English staff) on at least three occasions. On the other hand I have also worked in English Departments where the harmony was very strong and few situations can be more pleasant. Unfortunately the reverse of that can be unbelievably stressful and destructive. In my case this even at one time led to as near to a breakdown as I would ever want to get. It certainly led to my leaving teaching for a period.

Marcellous went on to become a barrister. I didn’t…

But let me quote part of his post, and I hope he writes on this theme again:

One effect of teaching which I observed in myself is that, accustomed to parting the crowds in the playground with a purposive walk and a defensive scowl, I caught myself doing it in the world at large (though less effectively). I only really became a real person in the middle of the school holidays.

I think the thing I never really get used to as a teacher is the notion of fulfilling a public persona (which was inherently authoritarian) which was utterly divergent from my own private life. Now I have become more acclimatized to that public-private divide, which doesn’t only apply to teachers, or even to those in positions of authority.

My desire to keep this blog positive may not preclude some dark tales of my own. They too can be instructive. However, one must be careful…

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