In 2019 I became a newly qualified teacher. I had embarked on a new career at the age of 38. I had worked in schools for over five years and after much persuasion from colleagues and friends, I decided to do my PGCE. I was so lucky to get my first teaching job at an international school in Hong Kong.
I’m not just saying this but I totally lucked out with my team. Every single one of them are amazing. So when I found out I had melanoma and knew I would be taking time off for surgery I felt so guilty. I felt bad that I was increasing their workload. But then I was covered by a supply teacher which eased it all for them and made me feel less guilty. When Covid-19 arrived and schools closed (since end of January here in HK) we had to switch to online learning. So although my surgeries continued, I felt I was able to work from home sooner after surgery as lessons were online. If I had been needed physically in a classroom it would not have been possible.
This is a poem that I wrote about this experience and how I felt guilty on my team for not being ‘present’ for some of the school year due to my surgeries and treatment appointments. Enjoy.