Given that I have a policy of removing blogs from my RSS reader after six months of inactivity, I suspect that a gap between posts of 11 months might have lost a few readers, but I shall attempt to restart the old blogging machine.
People close to me will know this year has not been particularly easy on a professional level. When you play the Game Of Thrones you win or you die, and it was very nearly the latter. With A-level, Access and HND - all very intensive, high-level courses - plus the "professional challenges" faced on a daily basis (which I do not intend to discuss, but oh boy are you going to find out about them), there was nothing left of me at the end of the day to fulfil even my basic physiological needs. My weight and mental health both took a dive, and I'm sure colleagues got as sick of my sarcastic responses as I did of their constant questions as to what my weight-loss secret was!
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. I interviewed for and was offered a position at another college. With a stronger A-level provision, an established sixth form, and a good track record of Oxbridge applicants, it's in a different league altogether. I will predominantly be teaching A-level, and you have no idea how good that feels. Nearly four years ago I interviewed for a position that was exclusively A-level, and I turned it down because I felt I'd get bored. Now I don't think that's possible. To be able to focus on one subject and one specification and really strive for brilliance in me and my students could be the most fascinating role of my career yet.
The academic year 2003-2004 was absolutely awful. The academic year 2013-2014 has matched it, but for (mostly) different reasons. Ten years ago, I felt broken. Now, I can use the painful memories to help me be a better teacher, friend, wife, daughter and sister. Maybe I'll be able to put this year to similarly good use. To those of you still here, thank you for not getting round to sorting out your RSS feeds!