I’m a socialist. I will always be a socialist. I’m not one of those people who complains about helping immigrants…even though my parents were immigrants. That will always bewilder me!
No matter how high you have climbed or how high you started, it’s important to help those around you. You get the Arthur Birlings who think, “Well, I climbed the ladder without help – you could too.” It’s a shame that they think they didn’t receive help along the way. Nobody does anything alone. Either overtly or covertly, the Arthur Birlings of this world received help.
My last blog was about a job offer being withdrawn. I did something I don’t usually do – I openly asked for help. I was overwhelmed by the response I received.
I tend to keep myself to myself. I don’t really open up and I don’t mix…or network. I have attended some classes on a Diverse Leaders course and it’s changed my mindset. I’ve always lacked confidence in my ability to get as high as I want. I believed there were barriers in my way. I’ve always known I had the ability to achieve but didn’t know that I had the ability to push down the barriers. This course has shown me that I do.
I keep to myself because I’m afraid of opening up and things going wrong. You know when a student doesn’t try in a test and then when he gets his mark back, he says, “I didn’t try anyway.” The fear of trying and failing is far worse than failing because you didn’t try. As much as I tell my boys to try their best, I wasn’t doing this myself.
Anyway, I digress…back to the socialism part-
Last week, I wrote a post asking for help. A coach for headteachers (who I had come across on the Diverse Leaders course) sent me a message and told me about a school she used to lead. She passed on my details to the current headteacher and the headteacher called me within minutes. We spoke on the phone and I was open and honest with her about my reasons for having a job withdrawn. I am generally an honest person but I previously omitted it because I thought it was no longer on file…as stated in the outcome letter (but that’s a different topic).
The headteacher asked me to come and see her in the week. I did my research on the school and it seemed just right for me.
It was the last English exam. I set off on my 2/3 hour journey to school. As I was coming off the M25 and approaching the A20, at Swanley, my car broke down. I pulled into the lay-by and that was the end. The engine went on but the car wouldn’t move. I needed to get to school. I needed to see my boys before they sat their last exam. I downloaded the Uber app, ordered one and left my car where it was.
A colleague dropped me back to my car after school and I called the AA who dropped my car to the nearest garage. Only God knows why he decided to take me to Stephen James; a BMW/Mini garage. I wanted a backstreet one. The garage quoted £1000 to fix the burned out clutch. With all the driving I do – if you can call it driving, I’d call it clutch and accelerator practice – it’s no wonder the clutch burned out so soon. Anyway, I left my car with them and also left the keys. Once I arrived in Essex, I realised that I had left my house keys inside my car.
I considered staying in a hotel that night and then going to get my keys the following day. But I had an interview in the morning and needed to plan the lesson I was going to teach. So I needed my laptop.
I called a locksmith; it was all booked and then they called to say they don’t work in my area. I called several more – they were charging tons. I found one when my battery was on 3%. Just as I was about to text him my address, the battery died.
I was locked out of my flat. My balcony is too high to climb into, so I couldn’t get in that way. My battery was dead so I couldn’t call an Uber to get somewhere and it was quite late, so all the buses and trains had stopped.
I told a man from my building and he shrugged. So I walked and walked and walked. I went into a pub to see if they could let me use their phone to call the fire brigade – hoping they’d use their ladder to get into my balcony – I’ve seen firemen come for cats in a tree. The lady in the pub said she didn’t want me using her phone because there might be real fires. So I walked some more. I walked to the fire station, it was closed. I walked to the police station, it was closed. However, they had a phone outside so I used it and got through to the operator. She said she couldn’t help. I saw a payphone across the road and called the fire brigade and she too said they couldn’t help because there may be a real fire. So I walked and walked and walked some more. I don’t know where I was waking to. I was hoping I’d find a ladder or something. I saw ladders on top of vans parked outside houses – you know those window cleaning ones – but it was so late, I didn’t want to disturb anybody.
I walked back to my flat. The building was open so I went inside and napped on my doorstep. I woke up at 4am and made my way to my interview.
I hadn’t planned a lesson. I was frowsy. My clothes weren’t interview appropriate – I was wearing a short dress and leggings with pumps. I can wear that to work because I work there but not to an interview.
I set off anyway. I couldn’t let this lady down – she was taking a chance on me. She asked to see me even though my record was blemished – due to that ridiculous written warning for gross misconduct. There was no way I was going to flake on her. I was hoping to come across an ASDA or Tesco so I could buy myself something decent. None!
Once I arrived in the area, I saw one shop. You know them corner shops that sell a bit of everything. Man was selling long skirts. So I bought one and also bought some tights and changed there. Fortunately, I had some resources on my USB stick, so when I got to the school, I quickly whipped something up and used that for my lesson.
I was offered the job! (Although, I won’t count my chickens yet – we all know what happened last time.)
We woke up the following morning to the sounds of sirens and helicopters – a large tower block was on fire. A tower block that was unsafe due to people not wanting to help. There was nothing I could do to help; so I donated my skirt – the one I bought from the random shop.
I may have digressed quite a lot. However, the overall message is that we should never become too big for our boots. We should always do our best to help each other out.
I am so grateful to those headteachers that gave me a chance. It was also very lovely to see how London pulled together to help the people who suffered because of the fire.
If everybody was a socialist, that fire probably would have never happened.
P.S. I will be moving out of Essex as soon as possible!