Does Teaching Make You Wake Up In a Cold Sweat?

By James, our supply teacher from London

I’d forgotten the pleasures of a week off as a teacher.

That sense of being free again, with the day stretching out ahead of you unencumbered by thoughts of hormonal teenagers or lesson plans. And what a lovely week half-term turned out to be. I spent plenty of quality time with my daughter. We paid a visit to the Science Museum, and then strolled around London people watching. At home we relaxed in front of the TV watching films and munching popcorn, made cardboard shops and houses, played games and not to mention the best bit, enjoyed all the welcome lie-ins, a week free of a six thirty alarm call.


Hell, the weather even played nice too!

The week culminated on Saturday evening with a wonderful fireworks display held at my daughter’s primary school. Fast forward to a few days back at school and alas the previous week has become a distant memory. I’m exhausted already! Not helped I suppose by my complete inability to get a decent night’s sleep last Sunday night. It wasn’t simply a case of lying awake all night, no, that would be far too easy. I do restless nights with a little more oomph than that. When I did manage to drop off, some time after 2am, I had the added advantage of having to contend with some interesting and disturbed dreams. It was broad daylight, on a mid summer’s afternoon and I was walking hand in hand with my seven year old in a nondescript city centre area. The sun glimmering off the glass fronted buildings, the concrete a bright white in contrast. Plenty of people were going about their daily business; a very relaxed feel enveloped the whole scene. Nothing out of the ordinary so far. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason people started running, silently, expressions of fear adorning their faces. It was the lack of any noise that really added to the odd nature of this turn of events (can we even dream with sound?). Overpowering me though as I stood there was the certainty that I needed to take cover. I just didn’t yet know why. Still rooted to the spot, it was only when I looked up I set eyes on the cause of all this panic and the reason I needed to run. Above the building opposite I could see the head and shoulders of a dinosaur (yes, I know, very original!) as it prowled along the street running parallel to the one we were on. Its large brown leathery head swaying slowly left to right and back again as if seeking out something or someone in particular. As it turned to face my way once more its searching gaze settled, and then locked on to me and I instantly knew that I was what it was after. Transfixed up till this point I snapped out of my temporary paralysis and, grabbing my daughter under my arm, sprinted toward the sanctuary of the large building that currently separated us from our hunter.

It was at this point I bolted upright in the bed, a cold sweat for company. I checked the time, it was 3.47am and my sleep for the night was done as feelings of panic and despair hung heavy in the air and I knew from experience it would be futile even attempting to settle down again. I wracked my brain in an effort to establish if there really was something specific that I was worried about, but nothing presented itself. What did the dinosaur signify; surely over the course of a week off my subconscious hadn’t turned my students into such intimidating adversaries, had it? Somewhat troubled then I entered the first week back until, relaying the dream to a friend yesterday he, without hesitation, declared it was obvious that the dinosaur did not indeed represent any fear, latent or otherwise, I may have had of my students but in fact it represented the fear of the offer of a permanent contract! And you know, he may be right! Images of the Head chasing me down the corridor waving a piece of paper screaming, ‘sign here, sign here!’ are now commonplace and never fail to draw a smile. The question of supply or contract can often trigger a debate but long live supply I say, and at least I’ve been sleeping ok since!

What is your preference?

Have you chosen ‘risky’ supply over the supposed security of a permanent contract? Share your stories with us below.