Slice of Life Story Challenge March 11 -Between Sunrise and Sunset

Most work days my alarm invades my sleep at 5.20 am. I reluctantly stagger towards the shower, hoping it will provide me with the necessary kick start to my day.
As the water splashes around me, I am already considering the day stretching before me. Despite my planning, I continue to fine tune and rehearse the program for the dayahead.

Breakfast is a short sharp ceremony where I hastily eat yoghurt, fruit and cereal while reading my overnight emails or peruse the news.

My resources for the day are packed into my usually bulging courier bag –writer’s notebook, Ipad, diary, handouts, books, pens, markers, laptop, lunch, leads and connectors. My bag generally drags on my shoulder.

I frequently take a suitcase filled with books across a range of genres, artefacts, or notebooks from my earlier writing life. This is my suitcase of surprises. I like to share newly acquired books with teachers and their curious learners.  I look like I should be heading for the airport, rather than a school.

I endeavour to be on the road by 6.30 am, as I often face a long drive to some of my regular schools in Melbourne’s west. These trips can take up to two hours depending on the morning traffic. Freeways are problematic. Incidents and accidents can quickly throw travel plans into chaos. My commuting routine has been constant since permanently returning from the U.S. in 2007.

The school day always feels fast paced. Classroom demonstrations and debriefing sessions, planning with teachers, coaching sessions, meetings with leadership teams are all part of the landscape. Across the day, you discuss matters both formally and informally. You make notes, organize resources and plan for your next visit. The work is varied, mentally stimulating and physically demanding at times.

At the end of the school day, you may present an after school workshop, or attend a meeting. Then you face the challenge of the evening commute. It nearly always takes longer to drive home at the end of the working day. You look across at other drivers in the lengthening lines on the Monash Freeway and wonder, do I look that tired? Occasionally, I stay in Melbourne, rather than make successive trips.

My wife, Vicki and I share cooking duties at home, so we deal with that. A glass of wine perhaps to go with an Ottolenghi inspired meal. Then the necessary preparation for the next working day is completed. The couch calls and you fall asleep watching some uninspiring television show.  The dog looks at me and I am reminded that she didn’t get to go for a walk today. The day is almost done. The sun has set on another busy working day. Too soon, it will be repeated. I love my work. it is both stimulating and challenging.  I just wish it didn’t involve quite so much driving at times.


  1. I have to admit I am so glad my commute is only 20 minutes! This winter though, that 20 minutes has often stretched quite a bit. Wondering what do yo do in the car? Listen to music, news, books?

  2. That is a long commute! Your work sounds so fabulous, Alan. And I know the classes you visit are better for the time they have with you!


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