It’s Friday and I’ve swapped the wine for a really large bottle of vodka. I’ve had enough. I just want to drink alcohol in bed and sleep until lockdown ends. I haven’t been this fucking tired since I had a new baby with colic, a toddler with night terrors and a 6 year old who thought that 4.30am was a sensible time to demand breakfast. I keep seeing pictures of incredible doctors and nurses asleep in corridors or at desks, destroyed by their endless hospital shifts. As home-school continues I’m becoming increasingly worried that parents are a few weeks behind on the exhaustion curve. Soon we’ll all be passed out on the kitchen floor surrounded by dangerous quantities of unwashed pants and printed-out sheets of fucking paper.
The print-outs are beyond mental. I had hoped that amongst all of the human death and horror this virus might at least benefit the planet. But each week school asks us to print out another football-pitch-sized portion of the Amazon rainforest. This week I was sent 32 pages of English, a ‘guidance document’ for parents and 3 separate power points on ‘how to teach’. For a fucking NINE YEAR OLD. I’m genuinely worried that the printer is going to die of exhaustion. I’m not sure which one of us will succumb first.
It turns out that depending on which school your kids go to Home-School is either bearable or a total shit-show. We’re in the shit-show category here. One neighbour has kids at a school with actual online learning. She abandons them in front of a screen where real teachers teach from 9 til 4. Her only home-school job is to keep the computer plugged in. I’m so fucking jealous I actually hate her. Whilst her children are being properly educated I’m still reading the ‘how to teach’ document and realising that a degree in teaching can’t be condensed into 4 power-point slides decorated with some very bad clip art.
The document really hasn't helped. At all. I’m still unbelievably shit at teaching. If I worked in an actual school someone would have fired me weeks ago. I swear at the students. I strop out of class. I cry regularly. I’m deeply inappropriate and share way too much about my personal life. I understand far less than the students do about grammar and I regularly resort to Siri to answer their impossible questions. Before home-school I’d just about convinced my children that I was cleverer than them and knew far more than they did. Home-school has fucked this right up. The illusion is forever shattered. I’ve lost everyone’s respect.
I also can’t teach more than one child at a time. It’s fucking impossible. This means that today I’ve resorted to just ignoring the 9 year old. I didn’t feel too guilty about this until I found him trying to put the iPad in the freezer. When I asked what he was doing he said it needed to cool down. I suggested just switching the thing off for an hour and he laughed in my failing-teacher face. I really need schools to re-open. Or two out of my three children to leave home. Given that neither of these things are going to happen anytime soon I’m just going to bed and I’m taking the vodka with me. Wake me up when it’s all over.