Is This The Real Life?

Or is this just fantasy?

I’ve never been a real anything.

Well, okay, yes, I am in fact a real person.


As I have explained (ad nauseum) on this blog, I tend to flit from one activity to another, pretending to be whatever it is that takes my fancy at the time. Currently, I’m pretending I can play the banjo.


Maybe I’ll be as good as Kermit one day.

This pretend life has not only applied to my leisure activities. Every job I’ve ever held, I’ve spent the bulk of my time pretending I know what I’m doing.

And that’s because for every job I have ever held, I possessed neither the qualifications nor the experience for that particular position. They gave me the job anyway.

I know. I don’t understand it either.

But something changed recently.

At the beginning of February, I was given a fixed contract of three days a week for an eight weekΒ term in the school where I’ve been relief teaching.

I filled out the required paperwork and the bureaucratic wheels began to turn.

First, I was given an employee ID number by the Education Department. Having never held an official teaching position before, I’d never had one of these. Apparently this one will follow me all of my days. Mine to keep.

Along with the employee ID, I was given an official Education Department email address. Apparently this one will not follow me all of my days. Mine to give back at the end of my contract.

As far as the Department was concerned, I now existed as a teacher.

[It’s worth just noting here that all potential teachers in this state, even those only undertaking relief teaching, must be registered with the state Institute of Teaching before they are allowed to teach. We do have some standards.]

More was to come.

I was called to the office to collect my badge. A real name badge, not the paper and plastic one I usually wore as a relief teacher. This one even said “Teacher” on it.

Could this be? WasΒ I becoming something real?

Blue Fairy meme

Two weeks ago, the photographers showed up and I had my photograph taken. My first ever official school photograph as a member of staff.

It was like the last piece of the puzzle. I was a teacher.

Being a real teacher has also meant three meetings a week and writing reports.

Pretending can have its advantages.

The term ends this week. After the following two weeks of school holidays, I’ll no longer be a ‘real’ teacher.

I feel a bit like the Blue Fairy has jumped out and said “Only Kidding!”



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60 thoughts on “Is This The Real Life?

  1. I played the role of pretending to be a real teacher for twenty five years. It was only in the later years that we were deemed ready for a badge and only in the last few months that my lanyard held a photograph. Once every three months or so I wish the blue fairy would re-appear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The fancy badge caught me by surprise. And the word “Teacher” under my name freaked me out. I’m not sure I was actually ready to be ‘real’.

      Pretending for twenty-five years? That’s seriously impressive. I’ve only lasted in any job about three years. By then, I figure I’m at risk of being found out and think it best to move on and try on another hat.


  2. I don’t see you as a pretender at all. You simply love life and want to take it all in. You don’t need to have a badge or email address to enjoy the banjo or anything else you do. Although, I’d be willing to give up my badge and email to you if you’d like to have fun doing the work…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on the relief teacher role, Heather. It is very much official when they give you a badge. I always see the badge giving process to a new employee as sort of like a ritual, sort of like an initiation into a cult. Getting your photo taken is never really a flattering experience. That time is also the time when the employer has a good sense of trust in you, and you better not abuse it πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s been 8 weeks already?!!! It seems like only last week you were bouncing off the walls with excitement. I really hope you get another badge soon. I’m sure they’ve recognized that this drawing, rowing, singing, banjo-playing MOSY is a diamond.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Word is they’re short of relief teachers particularly for Mondays and Tuesdays (my preferred end of the week) so I think there will be work. I’ll just be back to being all over the place which can have its advantages from an excitement point of view. You never know what you’re gonna get.


  5. My dad was always intrigued by the name to properties as ‘real estate.’ He used to ask real estate agents, are there estates that are not ‘real?’. Can you show us some ‘un-real estate?’
    I never had a badge and at my age I will never get one now.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Real for a day… I know the feeling of being a pretender in a job. Still, work my butt off and everyone thinks I belong there. It sometimes makes me wonder how many people really aren’t pretending. I hope the experts on my team aren’t! But I’m not sure if I have them 100% fooled into believing I know what I’m doing. Oh well.

    Hey with ID in hand perhaps they’ll make you real again some day….

    Liked by 1 person

      • I actually think a lot of people feel like they are frauds, impostors or pretending at the job they do. But then, I think most of those people actually do better than they realize, maybe because they are so worried about being called out!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Relief teaching must be the equivalent of ‘substitute teacher’ is here in the States. (I’m making some assumptions here, perhaps you are relocated to the U.S. and simply use familiar terminology.) Either way, welcome to reality. Try not to let its less-than-shiny qualities dull your enthusiasm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you would call me a ‘substitute teacher’. Here, we are called casual relief teachers, more commonly referred to as a CRT. (People outside the education sector keep having to ask me “What’s a CRT?” I forget, when I’m talking about it, that not everyone knows what that is.)

      I think permanent/contract teaching and relief/substitute teaching both have pros and cons. I usually try to see the pros as much as possible. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! As long as I didn’t play the theme to Deliverance, you mean.

      Funnily enough, we’ve got music today and I’ve decided to take the banjo given it’s my last week. (It’s heavy and a bit precious so I don’t usually take it but I think it will be okay with these kids.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • My whole life feels like a whirlwind. I mean, one minute we were talking about you coming to visit and all of sudden you’re already back home. How fast did that go?

      It’s been a steep learning curve this term and part of me will be happy to relinquish responsibility for reports and assessments but I love the community of teachers and aides I’ve been working with and I will miss being a ‘proper’ part of that team. I’ll still be around, no doubt about it, but it won’t be quite the same.

      Real and make believe have their own pros and cons so I’d take either. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Like you Heather it hardly seems possible that the thoroughly planned and long awaited trip is now over. How is that possible? Whirlwind. Yes that could be my world too.
        I think you have a great attitude that no matter how it works out it will be fine. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the images you used in your post…especially the second one. I have a friend that moved from being a pretend teacher to a relief teacher and is now a full time teacher (science). Today ‘eight weeks’, tomorrow ‘the world’. I am certain that you can make anything happen that you want.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I needed to read this post. Your words are timely, my friend. I’ve been struggling with such a need and ideological stance of not pretending, of being so true to myself that I could be unintentionally setting myself up for invisibility (which wouldn’t be so terrible were it not for my living in a capitalistic society and wanting to be self-reliant). I can abide by social etiquette that is context specific, such as being quiet and well-behaved in a place of worship, movie theatre or during some other kind of official ceremony, but I cannot pretend to be someone I’m not, something I’m not, to have interests I do not have. And yet, the kind of “pretending” you mention is inhabitable and is more akin to taking on the characteristics of a persona.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad it was helpful. One of the advantages of this kind of pretending is that I end up doing stuff I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t tried to bluff my way into it. I certainly wouldn’t be teaching. I don’t see it as not being true to myself but as trying to stretch myself beyond my comfort zones. It’s still me but an extended version of me.

      I admire you for your decision to be true to yourself and I don’t think you should have to pretend to be what you are not but it doesn’t hurt to do a little pretending of “I can do this” just to stretch you out. You may discover something that is true for you that you didn’t know was there.


  10. Well done on the badge and contract! I am so glad that people still recognize that you have the skills and perhaps not the paperwork that says you can do those skills. In teaching, it is perhaps the intangible skills that are more important. What good is a piece of paper if you cannot build rapport with the kids? I do recognize that “fraudulent”: feeling as I masquerade as a therapist most days in an official capacity of course!


  11. Pingback: In My Forties | Master of Something I'm Yet To Discover

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