I try not to write about work very much in this blog but recently it has been invading my innermost thoughts, sometimes keeping me awake at night. I am wrestling with the practical everyday realities of leading a secondary school English department in an area which has plenty of deprivation while being pressured about a relative decline in English exam results this summer. I mean what could they expect? Apart from me, the other five teachers had three years experience between them! I start to wonder - how much longer can I endure this shit? I'm sick of it - the ball-breaking headmistress and the very limited resources, the kids without pens or ambitions or proper family support. I have given so much of myself to the job these last twenty nine and a half years. Weekends, holidays, late nights. At one point it even threatened to destroy my marriage. Maybe if I can get through to next summer... then I'll have done my thirty years and I believe I will have earned full pension rights when I get to the age of sixty. One key dilemma is that I am at last being pretty well paid and I was hoping to maintain that kind of income with a saving habit attached at least until Frances completed her university education. I have always been strong, tough in the world of work... fighting through the days and the weeks and the years... but recent pressures leave me feeling overburdened and vulnerable. And ironically, though I have doled out barrow loads of pastoral care to children in my career, when I have need of some there is of course none to be had. You are just a peg in a hole.