Today is the last day before the summer vacation, but also I’m hanging my hat up in my current school. A classroom that I’ve called home for over eleven years. How do you sum up all of those memories in a small speech to a crowd of people that you hold dear?
If you’re me, you open your Mac book and use your blog. So this is my farewell and my thank you speech, it also means that using this platform allows those still shielding to be part of our end of term celebrations.
At the start of this week a yr 7 saw me in the corridor and said how sad she was that I was leaving, she winked and then said “Miss are you leaving to fulfill your dreams of being a full time mermaid?” I can now confirm that at least one child has listened to me in the last eleven years.
When I got the position as Nurture teacher *such an awesome title, back at the end of 2008 I went home and celebrated with perhaps a little too much zest. Several weeks later I had to make a call to explain to my new headteacher that I was pregnant. She took the news better than expected and simply said ‘you’ll fit right in’ this turned out to be a literal interpretation as I was the 8th member of staff to be pregnant at that point in time. So walking into the staff room on my first day was like a scene from a David Attenborough Sea Lion breading documentary.
At 38 weeks pregnant I was ordered to leave site (one of the other Mums to be had previously come close to giving birth in the school car park) as regular readers will know the birthing plan didn’t go to plan at all and three days after giving birth Gracie passed away in my arms, too precious for this earth.
However in my darkest hour the school shone a light of love, a cocoon of comfort around me, for that I’ll always be hugely grateful. While the Mr received an obligatory card and bouquet of flowers, I was treated as a member of the family having only been there for a few months.
I was treated to the same love in 2019 after our silent miscarriage. I’d discussed with my manager that I’d like staff to know but that I was in a good headspace and just needed to be treated the same, no need for contact. Two minutes after she made the announcement in briefing my phone rang like it was caught in the Matrix, personal messages of love and support were just a text away. Thank you.
In our darkest moments we often learn to appreciate what truly matters. I’m not sure I’ve ever fully recovered from summer camp 2012? The year it rained every day and we lived in a muddy puddle of coldness and excessive amounts of sugar. Needless to say that was my last camping experience. Ever. One joy was that I didn’t bring any muddy clothing home, at under 5ft most of the eleven years old wore my clothes and for the next few weeks in school they approached me in corridors with Mum washed carriers bags of thanks. Another school value I hold dear.
Having a specialism in behaviour means I’ve come across my fair share of naughty monkeys and sometimes that means calling parents and explaining why they’ve been excluded…again. My top exclusions phone calls have involved sentences such as “ yes that’s right, she filled her lunch box up with Daddy-long leg spiders and tormented the new year sevens”
“No you heard right, she purchased some jelly and ketchup from the school diner applied it to sanitary towels and stuck it to the girls backs” and the classic line “ yes she really did tell the headmasters to go do that”
Laughter is key when dealing with child protection and also handy when teaching politics in the last few years, my biggest thanks goes to the staff I’ve worked with. When the world seems so dark and our case loads are over flowing, when our battle with external agencies seems like a blood bath…sometime you need to laugh.
Sometimes you need to climb into a cupboard because you think you can fit just to make the people around you chuckle.
Sometimes you come in to work and a member of staff stayed late to turn the desk upside down but arrange the items on the desk as if it were untouched.
Sometimes despite the ICT teams frustrations moving the keys on a keyboard to spell rude words is the chuckle you need and sometimes only hiding peoples shoes in the ceiling tiles and watching them look for them is your fix of Monday motivation
Saying goodbye is often difficult but laughing at the ridiculous, feeling proud of the achievement and having awesome people around you is a gift I’m proud to have been given.
It’s true that in the classroom is where the real magic happens, however if you are thinking about teaching as a profession I would strongly recommend disregarding the adverts of TV. Whilst it’s true sometimes kids ask inspirational questions, you will mainly listen to inspirational lies of why they haven’t produced their homework. Be aware that just when your internal light of ‘yes they’ve got this’ is turned on and you’re rewarding yourself with the Nobel peace prize for teaching – a little hand at the back will say sometime like “Miss is the word Monarchy a pasta dish?” and suddenly your ego is in check for another day.
To the parents who have trusted their most precious gift to us – thank you.
To the team of staff (both current and in previous years) who have stood together – thank you.
For the tears of joy and seeing children thrive – thank you.
For the tears of frustration – we learnt from you.
For the summer holidays – we need you.