Jason. Time is running out. I am sure it doesn’t fall to me to remind you that your (eagerly awaited) Ten Good Reasons tour is imminent. I don’t wish to appear pushy but, well, I would like to remind you of my pleas.
Since I last wrote, I have been a busy lady. I said I was working my way through a to do list and I meant it. I swam Lake Windermere, raising money for the MS Society; I joined a choir and performed at City Hall in Hull (including a single line solo – see, I told you I could sing just a bit without disgracing myself. Oh and I am the Viking FM region (Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire) Teacher of the Year! No kidding. One of my classes nominated me – I didn’t even know, nor did I bribe them. I mean, I would have bribed them if I had even known that Teacher of the Year was a thing, but I had no idea until my students informed me that I was in the final three. So, I treated myself to a fancy frock (one that matched my fanciest walking stick) and attended the awards ceremony, only to discover that I had gone and won it! I have to admit that I was more than a little disappointed that Viking FM hadn’t gone to the trouble of lining you up as a surprise to hand over the stylish glass trophy, but it was a wonderful evening nevertheless. Me, teacher of the year. Go me!
I have also signed up for Masters level study, as a really quite mature (enough to embarrass my first-year-REAL-like-living-there-and-being-drunk-and-stuff son) student.
I have conducted a choir of about 180 teenagers (some quite reluctant, if I am honest, even though I pretended not to notice) singing a song of my own composition (The Archer House Song. Because we are in Archer House, and it is our song, you see?) in a competition. Okay, we came third, but a student I teach and mentor was in the winning house and gave a speech in front of the whole school, having suffered from panic attacks and anxiety for the past two years, so it was absolutely, hand on heart worth it to see her overcome her fears. I mean, losing hurts but silver linings and all that!
I had a go at Ramadan. I fasted for a very, very long summer day, and gained a new-found respect for anyone who can go that long without food in the name of religious commitment. Especially if they can do so without hallucinating that vegetables can talk to you. I may have hallucinated slightly come early evening. It was a long day.
I have spent a month alcohol-free, which – let me tell you – is no mean feat for a secondary school teacher. I have just realised how bad it sounds that I am citing this as one of my major achievements of the past few months. It was on the list, I did it. That’s all I’m saying.
So, speaking of the list, you are still very much on it. I haven’t given up hope. Just one, teeny tiny song. A verse. Hell, a line. I would take a line. Gratefully. And I would pin up a picture of you and me singing this line (any, you choose… feel free to make it a long line, like maybe a verse-length line…?) and put it up on my classroom wall, next to the hideous photo of me in a wetsuit on the shores of Windermere, and the glass TEACHER OF THE YEAR award, and the photo of me, walking stick in hand, hobbling over the finish line of the 5km colour run in Cleethorpes I completed with a friend last summer, just to say that I could, and the caption that says;
“Don’t let anyone tell you can’t. Especially if that anyone is you.”
I would point to this picture (sitting beside your signed photo, just saying!) and remind my students, perhaps until they start to pick it up and threaten me with it, that they can do anything they set their minds to and their hearts on. Whether you will sing with me or not, I truly believe that this is true. Of course, you could just provide me with a little more back up evidence…
Yours, still hopeful,
A follow-up to the original letter, here: