Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Village life 2

Leaving out the housing estate that was definitely not a village and my college which did have some similarities to village life,  I lived for a little while in a small village on the borders between Lancashire and Cheshire. I taught at the large  secondary school and in my first year of teaching was married to the head of History.
Some how who ever did the time table for that year had confused me with a History teacher, and my first lessons were actually History lessons. In vain I protested that I was an English teacher....it was set in stone for the year. My husband taught me what I was to teach the children the next day.
We had a large Victorian house divided into flats. Two other teachers from the school also lived there. it was quite a community .
It was a pretty village and I rode my bicycle everywhere, to school, to the shops, to the Church of England  church but only occasionally. I had married a lapsed catholic and it seemed very unkind to be able to go off to church and leave him to it.
Cycling everywhere brings you into contact with people you would otherwise not meet. I used to stop and chat with people I only vaguely recognised and I soon got to know most of them.
My school was a boys school. I had done a teaching practice there and they had kept me on....
I will never forget the day I was cycling home to find everyone outside their homes talking . I had no idea what had happened so I slowed down.
They were boys I taught so I stopped and asked them what had happened. It was the Manchester United crash...they were all Man united fans to the last one of them.
Tears flowed freely as the news came in...all those dead!
It was one of the first times I assumed pastoral care not just for the boys but for their parents and siblings as well....in the days before we were all under suspicion for touching the children in our care, I hugged all those who needed it, wiped away tears and returned home wondering what on earth it was going to be like in school.
It was bad..it affected everyone...all the teachers as well as the children. In that huge school I used up more hankies in a day than ever seemed possible.
It taught me a lot. Listening is a vital part of grief counselling and I learned it all in that small village where everyone helped as much as they were able. There I saw the best bits of village life.

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