I must admit, I do not want to go back. Not ever, just not yet.
If I recall the last year's me, I see a woman who'd rather get shredded than go back to work in September. Crying, I was clutching and clawing my husband's shoulder the night before the first INSET day, begging him not to make me go back. I remembered only too well the nights spent worrying, the long parents' evenings and the crippling feeling that it will never get better, ever, and I spent all these years studying for this and yet I cannot do it. I looked for other jobs, I got more and more depressed realising that they are far away or I am not qualified enough, more and more broken every single day. I hated it.
Until one day at the end of 2016 that I did suddenly realised that I no longer stay up until eleven just to finish the next day's presentations or get up early to mark the remaining few books that I just couldn't do the night before. Nor do I carry so many books home or spend all my weekend indoors closed in a room with textbooks and computer. Some of it was because I got a teeny bit relaxed and stopped worrying and micromanaging so much, but also because somehow the job has become less daunting and I had more free time but rather than resting or spending it doing things I loved, I spent it worrying. So I decided that I will stop - and that was somehow enough to make me do it. That simple shift in mindset.
So now I am actively making myself think about and appreciate what I have been through, what I will go through and what I definitely have coming, because - big revelation - teaching isn't easy. I won't go as far as saying it is one of the hardest jobs in the world because I really don't think it's true (surely mining sulphur at a semi active volcano somewhere in Indonesia is more demanding), but it is hard enough for us pampered first world types.
It means a lot of sitting down getting a nice carpal tunnel syndrome from using the red pen a lot, rushing around, caling the IT guy when the printer doesn't work and you're convinced that it hates you, saying 3-2-1 a lot and sometimes being cried to, being shouted at and having to carry out polite "arguments" with both parents and their offspring but it also involves the things I love most - helping young people learn how to be organised and focused, how the world works and introducing them to the wonders of Science. That's what I do, that's what we all do. So next time a school year comes close and threatens to smash me in the face, I say:"Just bring it on and get it over with. I am ready."