There's a chair in our staff room.
It's different from the other 43.
It faces north east, is adjacent to a small window, and is the furthest chair away from the photocopier.
By that’s not what makes this chair unique.
Over the past 2 years, I've watched 7 teachers sit in that chair and cry.
Everything from gentle tears to soul-wrenching sobbing have taken place on that very seat. I know because I've sat on the seat next door.
I’ve sat there listening. Consoling. Being.
Once I just joined in. There was nothing I could say or do. I completely understood. So my tears joined theirs in a symphony of sympathy.
Then a member of the senior team walked over. ‘Excuse me…’ they began. I looked up.
Had someone finally noticed the dark depths of the chair?
Had they come to resolve the complicated web of issues this teacher was having to deal with?
‘You haven’t seen Mr. Last anywhere have you?’
‘No’, I replied. So they left.
Thankfully things have improved. The culture is changing. Fit2Teach is a part of that. Along with copious amounts of tea, cake and the occasional glue-stick delivery. But this change doesn’t happen overnight. We’re fighting a war here.
We’re fighting to take back control of our wellbeing. Happiness is our battle cry. We are done with being victim to another new initiative. We are done with typing emails late into the night while our spouses watch on from afar. We are done with seeing amazing, bright, professional colleagues reduced to an emotional wreck in the chair.
We’re taking back control.
The chair used to be the last place someone would sit before resigning.
The chair used to be a place where they chose to leave the school.
The chair used to be a sign that we were failing.
But that chair will, one day, be a throne. A seat for the victors. A seat for the champions. A seat for the teacher who can say, ‘I did enough. I did it well. I survived’.