How does your day compare to Orlando Bloom's?

This blog was first published in TES FE, March 2021

After Hollywood star Orlando Bloom’s ‘day in the life’ interview caused hilarity, teacher Laura Kayes shares her routine

I wake up at around 2am. I seem to be on the couch. Re-runs of The Office continue to hum softly from the corner, casting a flickering light over the crumpled blanket I’ve crafted from students’ homework. I roll out from under the weight, letting the papers cascade on to the floor, where the dog will silently eat them. 

I wake up at around 4am and wonder if I returned that parent’s phone call.

Probably best not to do so at this very moment.

I wake up at around 5.30am and decide to wait for my alarm. I have a sleep tracker somewhere in my mobile’s chasm of apps, but I don’t need it to tell me that I’m knackered. 

I check on the marking but it continues to exist.

My partner works shifts and needs his sleep, so I feel deep guilt as I crash around the bedroom in an elephantine fashion, searching for appropriate workwear. I’m a Gemini, so am allowed to make enough noise for two. I think? The stirring shift-worker is a Sagittarius, which means he’ll gladly propel arrows in my direction to get back to sleep.

I chant the teaching, learning and assessment standards for 20 minutes. I’ve had this chanting practice since I began my teacher training at 17, so it has, naturally, infiltrated my entire being during working hours. Which is all hours.

I spend some time bothering my tonsils for the regular Covid test, then doom scroll through the headlines while I wait the obligatory 30 minutes to be declared fit for work. I am searching for any semblance of valuable instruction around teacher-assessed grades. The Department for Education continues to ghost me.

I like to earn my breakfast, so I’ll just have some caffeine powders that I mix together with boiling water, a large spoonful of sugar (brown, for health) and some milk (semi-skimmed, for health).

My second, thunderous alarm of the morning causes me to jump, splashing coffee over the discarded marking. Sufficient time has passed for Covid to make itself known. I’ll type up my results then eagerly await my results.

Deemed momentarily safe for release into the wild, I’ll throw the stained and crumpled marking into my bag and set off, ready to sit in some traffic.

I’m 90 per cent caffeine-based. I’ll sometimes look at a freshly made latte, not yet abandoned to chill on a desk, and think, “That’s the most beautiful thing ever.” I’ll try to cherish this traffic stalemate as a time to savour my travel mug coffee whilst I listen to some rain soundscapes for cognitive clarity. I’ll do this by opening the window. It’s all quite UK, really. 

Long after the coffee runs dry, I’ll arrive at work. I’ll pull a raincoat over my noisily selected workwear (I’ve made an effort, of course. No tracksuit bottoms. I have a deal with my employers where I follow the expected dress code and they continue to pay me). I settle at my desk, pull out the marking, open my emails and spend some time thinking about roles for myself and others - for students and volunteers. Could they meet their work experience criteria siphoning this shambolic stockpile of unread communications? I shall put this to the whole team. I’m trying to be a voice for everybody. 

My students and I share a remarkable opening chapter of the day. Everyone arrives on time, masked and thoroughly sanitised. We remain two metres apart but share skills, knowledge and laughter, largely at my email-based work experience suggestion, which they assume is a joke. I shelve that idea and notice their energy filling the room. I watch as they collaborate with their peers, racing through notes looking for answers when their impatience with retrieval reaches critical levels and they throw their hands into the air to demonstrate the risk of physical eruption with the urgency of their question. 

I smile. These young people are the drivers of their own trains. We merely engineer the tracks.

Through the wall, the office is littered with cups full of teas and coffees, splayed across desks and stone cold. At this moment, bursting with enthusiasm and potential, they are not missed.