There was a moment of magic crossing the River Avon. The sun was rising and there was a richness and depth in the colours and a wispy mistiness lay across the fields. Should there have been the opportunity to stop to take a photograph, it would have had the qualities of an impressionist painting. A softness, a blending, a lack of sharpness, an amalgamation of gentle green Earth and pale blue sky that would have been frozen as a vision of beauty.
It is such moments that start a day well.
More mundane things can contribute to a good humour. Things like being out of the door by 6.25 am in order to be early enough to avoid the traffic and to complete the journey to work in thirty-five minutes.
Driving through the school gates at 7 a.m. just as the caretaker has unlocked them means having time to be peaceful, having an hour and a half before needing to engage with students.
My colleague arrives from the other side of the county at a similar time and our day always begins with the making of tea. Our routine is well established and if either of us does something different, we only confuse the other. The tea is strong tea, Yorkshire Tea, drunk from our own mugs, milk and no sugar.
By 7.15, it is time to begin work. The early start means having the opportunity to look over lessons, to think about what is intended, to check materials are in order. In times of Covid when teachers move around rather than students, it means planning the day carefully to ensure books and resources are placed in the right rooms.
There is contentment in getting ready for the day, in writing a checklist and ticking off item by item.
To arrive late, to miss drinking tea, to be without time for peaceful reflection, would lay a poor foundation for the day.
It seems odd when there are people who do not arrive until eight o’clock. It would cause a fluster and a panic to arrive at such a time. What if everything was not in order? What if there was something that needed extra preparation?
Usually, it is 4.30 or 5.00 before I leave, my colleague sometimes lingers until 7.00. He says he misses the traffic by going late. Nine, ten, and, for him, twelve hour days, the contract stipulates six and a half hours, but no-one could do their job in that time.
Drinking tea, we agree that we do the job because we enjoy it. There is a sense of pleasure on the days, especially those with a beautiful start.