Today, two days before the end of term, we had our school Staff Farewells. For the first time, I experienced these goodbyes personally, as two good friends from the department are moving on to pastures new. It’s that funny side-effect of teaching that they don’t teach you on your training; you develop emotional attachments to things which are hard to break.
You form emotional attachments to your colleagues. For all their belligerent acts of irritation and their constant lack of taking your advice, they become like an extension of your being; a limb, a breath of fresh air, a friend. You realise that eventually, everything moves on, everything changes, and whether they have been there one year or one hundred years, they will have embedded their footprint into the lives of colleagues and students alike. Only you, as a practitioner, have the power to decide what impact that footprint has; positive or negative.
You build emotional attachments to inanimate objects. I am moving to corridor pastures new next year, embracing room 18, and disregarding number 12. I didn’t think I would miss my current room. It’s small and awkwardly shaped; what it lacks in air conditioning, it makes up for in the lingering smell of body odour and sweat; it’s overbearingly impregnated by noise from the inside area which is oxymoronically outside my windows. However, as the move looms and I begin to box up display materials, resources and the tonne of stationary I have acquired, I can’t help but feel a small pang of sadness. It is here that I laughed with year 8, it is here that I hid birthday cakes for my mentees, it is here that I really found out who I was as a teacher. This room will always be special to me; for all its misdemeanours, it really is a special space, and its new owner will be very lucky to begin their practice in there.
Finally, you build emotional attachments to the students. This one is a real shock to the system; all attachments you think you have formed during your training suddenly feel insignificant and meaningless. After having ownership of a class, you feel reluctant to give them up. They are your girls, your boys, your year 7s. Today, one of my mentees shouted across the room:
“Miss, J has just text me… He wants to know if you miss him?”
And I could honestly reply that I did, very much so. He is, I’m certain, awaiting his GCSE results with baited breath, and although I am proud of his next steps in life, I miss the kids who have moved on desperately. They have been such a huge part of my training, helping me to develop and reflect on my teaching and craft who I want to be as a practitioner. I don’t know whether I will feel such attachment to my kids in 5, 10, 20 years time. These first year kids will always be special and I will never forget that they made me who I am.
Thank you year 7 – Your first year has been strange, I’m sure, but you have all developed into wonderful humans.
Thank you year 8 – I am over the moon that I will watch you mature in your writing and analysis and general humorous ways, and I am very lucky to be your teacher next year.
Thank you year 9 – Boys, there has never been a dull moment; thank you for making me laugh consistently, and never failing to brighten my day, even when you’re being a pain. Girls, you are growing into inquisitive, insightful students, who always strive for more – I am glad I will bear witness to this as you carry on into your GCSE journey.
Thankyou mentees – You whine, and bicker, and irritate each other. But I wouldn’t change you.
Thank you year 12 – For your hard work, your constant enthusiasm and your drive to deliver the best part of you.
(It’s always Spice Girl time.)