The staff stood chatting and then slowly dispersed until I was standing alone. I looked at my watch, it was ten past eleven.
Ten past eleven! What? I should be taking 7Y-I at five past eleven. The Year 7 break during Covid times is an hour earlier. They would have been sat in their classroom from five past ten. The teacher of the previous lesson would have left to go to their next lesson. If I was luck, there would be a teaching assistant with them and they would be sat quietly reading. If not, there would be a cacophony echoing down the corridor and the teachers of other classes would be wondering why 7Y-I’s teacher had not arrived. Oh for the pre-Covid days when students came to my room.
All I needed was to get to the room and log into the computer, the lesson would be there on a PowerPoint. I could talk to them while the technology engaged itself.
Rushing out of the door, I realised that I was not where I thought I was. I seemed to have stepped from the foyer of a university building into a modern university campus. I looked around at the concrete, steel and glass buildings for some clue. Where would I find 7Y-I? How long would it be before I found them? Looking at my watch, I had already lost more time.
At which point, I awoke. It was 6.30 am.
I had slept longer than usual. Usually, I wake at 5.45 and leave the house by 6.30, but this week major work on the gearbox of my car has necessitated working from home.
None of the students seem to have noticed that I am not at my usual desk They spend their lessons staring at the screens of electronic devices. I am a figure in a small square in the bottom right hand corner of their monitor or tablet or smartphone. I dress as I would for school, with a jacket and tie. No-one has yet noticed a line of railway books on the shelf behind me, or an Ireland rugby jersey signed by the team hanging on the wall.
Being late for 7Y-I seems to be the latest dream in which I am late and lost and panicking. It is presumably a sub-conscious reflection of a feeling of stress. I wish it were not 7Y-I, though. I enjoy their lessons. They hand out the books, answer the questions with enthusiasm, laugh at my silly comments, and do lots of work.
Perhaps 7Y-I, scattered in homes around Cheltenham, isolated from their friends, worried about their loved ones, uncertain about the future, feel as stressed as I do.