“Well, I’m back,” she said.

Hi folks. It's been a while.

A few things happened; the boring one was telephone shenanigans that left us bereft of the Internet for a while. The interesting one is that I've started working.

Yes, you read that right–I've got a job. A full-time, permanent, paying job. With a salary. In money. Every month and all. Essentially, by December I'll have earned more than all the money I made last year. That's a big enough change.

I'm a full-time teacher now. I'm also still a full-time PhD student, but it's the teaching that has eaten up most of the past month and a half. The school is near Nice, two hours away from home, which means I ride there, concentrate my weekly twenty hours of teaching in three days, and then ride back home just in time to crash on the cushions and allow myself twenty-four hours of incoherence. Twenty hours of work don't sound like a lot, but anyone who's ever taught knows it's in fact tremendous. There's no Facebook break allowed while you're teaching. There's not even time allowed for yawning, stretching, or even slumping a little on your chair. In fact, I don't even sit, most of the time. I'm too short to do that; the students at the back wouldn't be able to see me. And there's no listening break either; you don't take time to just soak up something another person is telling you, you're constantly ready to comment, interrupt, tell people to shut the hell up and listen, wake up the drowsing ones, have a positive word for the struggling ones, and so on.

Surprisingly enough, it's going well. One thing I didn't expect was how taxing it is to be the bad guy in the classroom. The fact is, I don't give a damn if students arive late or chew gum or say "Huh?" instead of "Pardon me?". I still have to tell them off. I also have to expell them from the class on a regular basis, because that's the only way my "last warnings" can retain any level of efficiency. I didn't expect it to be pleasant, but I didn't think it would be so exhausting. The few classes I can share a joke with are a relief.

I also know how many hours, I can teach in a row without turning into a zombie. It's six. My typical teaching day lasts eight hours. During the last class, I start slurring words and failing to remember basic vocabulary. When I come back home, I cook, or watch TV, or play video games, but working some more is out of the question. It's good I found a great place to stay between classes. It's a room up in a modern village, with low buildings and pine trees, and the sort of architecture that the sixties would have brought about if they'd had any sense. There's a very nice landlord, and a cat who plays with my hair. I sleep better than I have in a good while. I'm still not getting used to waking up at half past six, but it's less painful than I would have thought. Clearly, there's something to be said for working in a place that's not your home.


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