Action Stations

It looked like being an ordinary day at school… well, apart from the fact that Smudgelet was surreptitiously tucked away in a corner of the classroom as he had a development day at his school and I had nowhere to leave him. I covered a registration group for one of the three staff off sick and then turned my attention to teaching year eight about simplifying fractions. (They looked relieved at the start of the lesson when I said we were going to learn to simplify fractions… they weren’t so impressed when they realised this did not mean that we were suddenly going to find fractions easier!)

Suddenly I hear bells. Yes, it’s my mobile ringing, half way through demistifying the search for a common factor for the numerator and denominator. Tiddles’ school secretary – apparently Tiddles has thrown up twice on the bus on the way to school, and continued parting with his breakfast and bemoaning a migraine-type headache for the next half hour, please would I go and fetch him home as they were running out of buckets for him. A frantic message to the Head’s office results in me being asked to hold the fort until they find someone to cover my lessons as another teacher has been sent home sick. I send Smudgelet up to the staffroom to get our coats and wait for me there and turn my attention back to deciding whether you should say twenty-twoths or twenty-secondths which awaiting relief… relief which sadly was not forthcoming for about half an hour.

Just as I am waiting for my year seven group to line up properly (a thankless task!), I hear bells again. Not my mobile this time, but the fire alarm. I have to marshall the kids out onto the school playground, bypassing the rules and regulations to nip up to the staffroom to rescue Smudgelet from the flames. Needless to say my car keys were still in my coat pocket in the staffroom, which was out of bounds, so even if the supply teacher had arrived then, I couldn’t have escaped to pick up my ailing child. A quick phonecall to his school to inform them they’d have to hold on to him a little longer.

I get my class in and settled and start to issue some work for them to do with the supply when I suddenly hear bells yet again. No, not another fire drill (which had been a false alarm) but this time it’s my mobile again. The nursing home. There’s been a change of plan – my father is being discharged and brought home early…. i.e. any moment now – and hasn’t got a key. I’m furious, if I hadn’t been coming home to get Tiddles I couldn’t have left school. The timing of the ambulance had been arranged especially so that I would be home from work (and could get his bungalow ready for him) and able to look after him and liaise with the occupational therapists. So in some ways it was quite a blessing that Tiddles is so poorly, but I didn’t half feel harrassed as I quickly put together some work for my remaining classes and handed over to the supply teacher when she arrived.

It’s a bit daunting waiting for him to get home. He’s going to be exhausted most of the time, I reckon, as it’s such a long walk from room to room in comparison with how far he’s been managing to walk so far… and without me around to fetch and carry, even having a mid-morning cup of tea is going to be a real ordeal for him.

One thing’s for certain, though. Much as Tiddles enjoyed his hike, he’s really not enjoying the days following it, so he won’t be going hiking overnight again. 🙁

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