First Day Teaching and Getting Lost

My first day teaching was somewhat eclipsed by greater events.

I’m a huge fan of guided discovery. I love letting the kids find stuff out about the water on their own. Can they pick their sinky starfish up with their feet and if they do will their faces still get wet? If they blow out their bubbles, what happens? If they try and swim on their back with their heads up is it easier or harder than with their heads back?
Guided discovery is second nature in teaching, is makes the lessons fun.

As it turns out, I don’t much like guided discovery.

I wouldn’t say I’m a control freak. Not entirely. But I do like to know what I’m doing and where I’m going.
I hate using public transport for the first time.
I hate waving down a bus when it’s stopping anyway.
I hate running for the wrong tram.
I snigger internally at the people who haven’t topped up their MyKi, smug in the knowledge I’m doing it ‘right’.

I love getting lost in the comfort of a new city. Their are boundaries and limits. You know as long as you’re meandering along the CBD, or wandering through alleys and markets you can’t get too far lost.
I hate being lost.

I get the number 72 tram everywhere. It’s the only tram I need.
Left hand side of the road for work, right hand side of the road for play.
Left for work. Right for play.
Left for work. Right for play.
12 stops in either direction.
Left for work. Right for play.

Who knew the 72D existed.
I certainly didn’t and when it dumped me off somewhere in Malvern, I was jubilantly phoning England, exalting in a good day’s work well done and didn’t mind wandering the streets in the general direction of home.
An hour later it was starting to get dark.
My phone was running low on battery.
I hadn’t taken my purse with me – because why would I? I was going to work, I didn’t need it. It’s just one more thing to lose at the pool.
I have no taxi numbers.
I have no idea where I am.
I have no one to call.
I felt very alone.

Tram to Chapel Street.
I live just off Chapel Street. I can walk the rest of the way.
Chapel Street runs the length of Melbourne.
I’m still over an hours walk away from home.
I was heading in the wrong direction.

Minor panic on whatsapp.
Texting people in England.
People who can’t help, people who are just rubbing the sleep out of their eyes and ill equipped to deal with an increasingly hysterical mad woman the other side of the globe. But they were at least people.
30 more minutes of padding around ‘Balaclava’ and then I remember I have the flat phone number saved in my phone and ring home.
No one knows where I am.
But there are people. People who are present and here. People in the same timezone.
I’m no longer alone and my desperate situation is suddenly turned into another classic ‘Bex’ anecdote.

I stopped in at a 7/11.
My emergency $20 getting me a much deserved strong, sweet, black coffee and a chocolate muffin the size of my face.
I wander a bit longer and find a train station.
“Flinders Street”
A place name I finally recognise.
Climbing up the platform I gripped my phone tight in my hoody pocket and mentally checked out my surroundings for weapons. Overacting, I know, but I was scared.
It was dark, I was such a long way from England and a public transport system I understood, and I had passed three increasingly aggressive homeless chaps on the way up to the station.

Thankfully, my train stopped at Prahran Station, 2 minutes from the flat. 2 minutes from home.
Another quick call to the girls and back up was dispatched.
Louisa and I laughed on the way home; at the ridiculous situation, at the fact she got lost today too, at the fact I was supposed to have all the life skills.
I got home and sat next to the sofa, wrapped up in the blanket and ate my giant muffin.

I was fine, but I was upset.
Upset I got lost.
Upset I was scared.
Upset I couldn’t find my way back home.

Guided discovery. It’s hard.
I’m going to be easier on my kids.


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