... chickened out
So I'm currently writing this in the middle of some ocean (I'm terrible at geography) on a snorkelling boat trip looking for a shipwreck. Except as I'm writing this on my phone, you can probably tell that I in fact did not go snorkelling.
Actually I did on a technicality, I donned a life jacket, mask, snorkel and flippers, jumped into the sea after a much needed pep talk from two lovely Cypriot divers, jumped in with confidence in the world, then got hit square in the face from a vicious wave and promptly freaked the eff out!!
My poor husband had to deal with his not so level headed wife having a mini melt down in the middle of blue waters, trying to tell him what's up with a snorkel wedged betwixed my teeth. I think he'll be taking one back to England with us to prevent all future arguments, as it would appear you become more muffled when there a few inches on plastic wedged in your gnashers!
I'm not a very brave woman when it comes to heights, planes, roller coasters, open water, in fact I hit 25 and realised that you could die from all of these things and promptly became petrified of everything. I didn't used to be like this, I used to be fearless, with the ability to always take the first dive into any situation, but now, I am more hesitant.
But today my fear was heightened, I had talked myself out of the dive before I had even started, it was always going to end on me giving up, for one simple reason. The whole safety talk was in Cypriot! From the second we stepped on the boat, not a word of English was spoken. The irony was not lost on me that only 3 days previously I had smugly turned to my husband and said, "Us Brits are so arrogant, we always expect people to speak English so we make no effort to speak other languages. when we go to Spain I always talk the language, but you know what, by the time we leave Cyprus, I'm going to have taken on some of the language, I consider myself a linguist after all" What. A. Cock!
I sat listening to the safety talk gripped with fear. What was she saying? What was that thumbs down for? Is she comparing us to the Titanic? I definitely heard the words Titanic!
And when the safety talk was over, and I was none the wiser and whilst everyone else was smiling, I cried behind my sunglasses. Not metaphorically. I real life cried. And I suddenly thought about all the EAL pupils that I had taught, that had just appeared in my lesson with little to no notice and usually no English at all. How dependant I was on google translate, how frustrating it was for me, how much more work I had to do, how broken their responses were. How annoyed I'd get at times because I didn't know if they STILL didn't get it or if they were pulling a fast one to try and get out of work.
I had previously tried to emphasise with them and their emotions, frustration, isolation, intrigue, but I had never thought of fear. Sheer fear of not knowing what on earth is going on. Anxiety of appearing stupid and getting it wrong. Sadness of being removed from their comfort zone, where in their own toungue they might have been top of the class and fearless. And it took me to be in the middle of a sea where my safety was in the hands of someone who I didn't understand yet I was expected just to go with it. So as I lie back in the sun, on this swaying boat, knowing I really am safe and the fear is in my head, I will make sure I keep this experience in my head in September.
Take heed trainee teachers, NQT's, RQT's in fact all teachers new and old. Sometimes our biggest inconvenience can be the greatest source of comfort to someone else, so take that time to find out some titbits in their language, it might be the most comforting thing they hear in the 7 hours that they are made to come to school that day.
Oh and husband returned to the boat after being stung by a jellyfish, so it wasn't a completely wasted expedition!