Two years ago, on a wet Tuesday afternoon, I was ironing school name labels into Henry’s newly purchased school uniform. Yesterday, on an equally wet Friday afternoon, two years later I spent yesterday doing the same for Isaac. My baby is starting school!!! How is he old enough? How has he grown to be, as he will very proudly tell you, 4!
Over the past 3 years I have been a work at home mum so that I can care for him, take him to the various hospital appointments that filled our diary and been his main carer, his teacher, his friend and play-mate. I stopped teaching when he was 15 months old. He went to nursery from 7 to 15 months but for pretty much his entire life I was his primary carer. Now that all changes. He is, of course, ready to start school. If there had been a nursery attached to his brother’s school he would have gone there last year, he is desperate to be with his brother. I will hide the tears from him. I don’t want Isaac thinking it is bad to start school. He has been so excited since his visits. There will of course be make up wipes and tissues in the car as I drive away. I am thankful that I will be able to take him for his first day and be there each day to pick them both up.
The past 3 years have been some of the hardest of my life. My reasons for stopping teaching are well documented. I have loved being at home and loved running my sling library. They have given me a purpose. But the start of September is not just Isaac’s first day at school, or Henry’s first day in Year 2, but my first day too because I am going back to school! I’m not returning to the teaching profession, for me that ship has sailed, and I’m not off to university, but to be a primary school teaching assistant, and do you know what? I can’t wait. There are plenty of poems about starting school, that first day but none of them quite fit with what I’m doing. I am thankful that my new headteacher realises just how important seeing Isaac start school is and has agreed for me to be a little late so I can drop him off.
Going back to work is a just a little scary, although the opportunity to buy new shoes is never going to go amiss. For 3 years I have been entirely my own boss. I decided what work I do, when I do it. I am now going to be an employee. Switching from secondary school to primary is also a big jump. Although I will be working with older children it will be strange to be working with just one class rather than 10 or more a week. I am excited to see what the days bring and how the change in direction affects me, my family and my sling library. Since getting this job I have completed an Autism Awareness course, a Teaching Assistant one and started a SEND course. This marks a big step in my life. It is a challenge I look forward to grasping with two hands and hopefully being the best TA it is possible to be. Now remind me again where I put my pens?
Rachel Coy | The North East Sling Library