7.30 am, it seems a late hour to be opening a school.
In the first of the two academies in which I trained in Weston-Super-Mare, the cleaning staff had a split shift, the first would run from 4 am until 8 am and the first teachers to arrive for work would be there at about six. On one occasion, my training mentor was asked for a lift to work by a teacher whose car needed drastic remedial work. “No problem,” she said, “I’ll collect you at around 5.30.” He bargained her back to six o’clock.
In my second training placement and in the school in which I worked in Cheltenham, the gates were unlocked at seven and staff began to trickle in.
7.30 seems too late. Only an hour before the students arrive does not seem to allow time to get ready for the day. Or perhaps, it is just me, everyone else seems quite content with the starting and finishing times for the day.
I have realised that I have increasingly become a workaholic.
Of course, to suggest that work might be a form of an obsessive compulsive disorder would sound like a bad joke by a stand up comedian, in the vein of the sort of humour expressed in the tee-shirt slogan that work is the curse of the drinking classes, yet being a workaholic is a much more difficult habit to break than might be imagined.
A friend in Northern Ireland, a businessman who had lost everything through alcoholism and who had then had the support and the courage to rebuild his life, so that the latter life outshone the former, would speak publicly about the disease.
For him, alcohol addiction was an obsessive compulsive disorder, he believed that his personality was thus inclined and that anything he did, he tended to do it obsessively. Talking about his business one day, he said on a typical day he would start at six in the morning and finish at ten at night, “it’s an obsession, but it’s a better obsession than drinking.”
No-one would have disagreed with him, but is any compulsive behaviour healthy?
Perhaps the tendency to be constantly active derives from a childhood in a farming community where sitting doing nothing was considered unhealthy, perhaps it comes from years of being imbued with a Protestant work ethic, perhaps it is a disorder. All I know is that I become agitated if I am not doing something.