I didn’t realise the longer term effects it could have. I haven’t written or published anything on my blog in the two months since I had it. Always tired and lacking focus. Now is the time to ‘get back in the saddle’.
I still remember the start. Friday 2nd April I went out with some friends – there were five of us in all. We went to a restaurant, then to the rotating bar at the Baku Hilton (I live on the next block), then on to a pub close to me. In the next week 4 of us were diagnosed with Covid, and with me being by far the oldest, I suffered the most.
Where did we contract it? In one of the bars? Did one of us already have it? How come 4 out of 5? Maybe the 5th person was an asymptomatic carrier?
It doesn’t matter.
Putting it into perspective of other respiratory ailments I’ve had in the past; it was a lot worse than flu but not as bad as pneumonia – that one almost killed me! At the worst point my temperature was up at 42° C and my lovely lady was cooling me with a mix of cold water and vinegar, and I was raving on about something – I don’t really remember this. Then the doctor found I had kidney stones, so for 5 nights a paramedic came to my home and administered a drip to help break the stones down.
Meanwhile my school was still operating online classes. I know that each day I was typing instructions for my classes into Google Classroom, though I didn’t have the energy to go into Zoom lessons. Nobody was tasked with covering my lessons, which led to a complaint from one parent. When I went back onto Zoom in the second week I had to laugh at my own on screen image – totally white face, sunken cheeks and bags under my eyes.
As I recovered it was time for reflection.
I still love teaching but I have had enough of schools. Too much data being recorded and analysed by people who should really be in the classroom teaching! And attitudes have changed. In my early days as a teacher I made mistakes and fought to control classroom behaviour and I could always rely on backup from senior staff. These days when kids misbehave we are just told it’s because we are bad teachers. Meanwhile those dishing out that useless advice sit in quiet offices looking at spreadsheets…
I decided to quit and head home to Liverpool. I started teaching in September 1981 so forty years has been good! I’ve taken time out for various reasons over the years (I missed 10 months when I had a horrible motorcycle accident and came close to having my right leg amputated – thank God for the skill of NHS surgeons). I spent a lot of time teaching in the UK though the last 15 years has been spent on contracts in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Gran Canaria and Morocco. It has been fantastic fun – I just don’t want to do it anymore!
My reflections took me back to reading a couple of classics to help me re-focus my ideas. I am working my way through ‘Think and Grow Rich’ and ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. When I get back to UK I will get all of my books out of storage and the first one to the top of the pile will be ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’.
When I get back to ‘blighty’ I will work to open a Kumon tuition centre for several evenings a week. This will give me time to focus on something I have dallied with over the years – creative writing. I have the outline for about 9 books in my head, plus a book of poetry and several volumes of reflections on my teaching career, the latest of which has the working title ‘You’re welcome to Baku’! I will work on my blogs including some personal reflections, short stories, extracts from my novels, insights to Online Business and some edited PLR articles.
I have been impressed by the amount of support, follows and likes on my blogs. I hope to continue keeping you informed and entertained over the coming years.