Back in the Day
A ‘Walk of shame’ has always had really negative and stigmatised connotations for me. It was something to sort-of hide and sort-of revel in when I was at uni and playing rugby. It tended to be preceded by a somewhat jaunty and vivacious night out with rugby team-mates on a Wednesday evening. Then Thursday morning happened. And sometimes a ‘walk of shame’ ensued, where I’d just not quite made it home in the usual scholarly and respectable way, that I would at least strive towards. It was a giggle and the chats about who went where and why, with whom were always a good laugh. But there was also an unease about it. In 4 years, I missed 2 early starts on a Thursday morning (9am and 8am in France). One was because of actual illness and one was because of things and stuff like rugby. And there was fun had. But it also was a little anxious making.
When you walk in and you’re not your usual dapper-self, you can feel people’s eyes burning into you and judging you. Or at least I did. And that was the feeling I had today before I went into the hall at school. It is really horrible.
But now, 15 years on, I have language and experience to describe that feeling and it is anxiety. Full on, medicalised (and at times medicated and therapised) anxiety. In some ways knowing that I have anxiety troubles makes it easier because you can CBT your way out of stuff. But sometimes it still sucks and you feel like an utter wally.
Today I started to feel like a wally. but then a gorgeous and kind colleague smiled and waved, so I went to sit next to her. Then everyone else smiled and was lovely, as they always are. And that feeling gnawing at the pit of my angsty stomach subsided to make way for warm fuzzies and smiles. It was lovely and the day was full on, but lovely because essentially, most people are just really kind.
Think of the children!!!!!
But if that’s me with all my gazillion years of experience and vocabulary to describe how I feel, what of our students who are coming back into this great big hall with out that confidence of self that time, space and years give to you? They will find it hard.
They will find it hard because we’ve been out of the game for nearly 6 months and there is a whole host of COVID-related stuff for them to take on board. They’ve not had to deal with other folks and formal learning for months. Or they may have been desperate to deal with learning because home was so tricky. We don’t know all of our kids’ experiences but we need to support them so they don’t have that gut-wrenching walk-of-shame feeling that I had this morning. We want them to have he warm-fuzzies that I had afterwards and to feel that their day was good, after all.