Day 16 — Reflection

Today my emotions went in the reverse of yesterday. I started off feeling like absolute crap but then things picked up towards the end for the better.

You know when you’re in a shit mood and getting out of it feels damn impossible? That was me. Bad moments from the day before had me doubting myself and just feeling like a failure.

I was teaching well but my mind was elsewhere, it resembled a huge grey cloudy council estate that was about to be knocked down. After my lunch break I figured that my day was only going to get worse because I really don’t enjoy teaching this certain afternoon class. The kids are just too all over the place for me to want to deal with them, they have no discipline or manners.

Then they didn’t turn up.

I felt like I could actually relax after that with the comfort of knowing I probably wouldn’t be annoyed with any of my lessons for the rest of the day. It eased some pressure off my shoulders.

As the afternoon went on I got introduced to my new secondary school class to teach. They’re a group of year 9 boys, 14 or so. Some big and some small. Some white but mostly black. Before we organise lessons we need to assess the kids to see what their ability is so we can split them up with two teachers. As the lead teacher for this I wanted to take the beginners in the shallow end. An inexperienced teacher can’t really make someone unlearn how to swim so they can take the kids that definitely won’t drown!

Remember I said some boys were white and most were black? Which of them do you think could swim and which ones couldn’t? The answer is the same as one of Bashy’s more memorable tunes, ‘Black Boys’. At first I sighed but then it made me really happy. I became a swimming teacher so boys like this don’t go on holiday and end up drowning at a party, or on a trip with school and in some other cases, when being chased by police in East London. They need this valuable life skill, otherwise they won’t be safe. I can’t have that on my watch.

These boys reminded me why I do all of this and showed me that even on days where life is hard, or I feel like a failure, there’s still something great in what I’m doing and that is and always will be worth doing.

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