This has been a tricky one to write.
I’m not good with goodbyes, I’m an ugly crier, I can’t do public speaking when I’m emotional and I always feel like I make a dreadful fool out of myself. When I got married I sobbed my way through my vows, while my other half (clenching his buttocks and trying not to faint) shouted his, robotically to great mirth and hysteria from myself and his Best Man.
I decided some way back, on a rainy, cold, Tuesday evening in January (it’s always a Tuesday, isn’t it?) that I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Snivelling in my planning, my mind whizzing through the pile of marking which I surmised could only be got rid of, if it ate the pile of washing and then start a fight with the mounting pile of dishes…then one of the children would wake up and it seemed to spiral. Over the winter the children seemed constantly poorly, I was always worrying about the next sick day.
Something had to give.
I couldn’t give the children back. For all my grumblings, they’re mine, I love the bones off them and part of my unhappiness was my worries about failing them. My husband is lovely: he stays too. The washing and dishes, well, we needed to eat and I struggle to find a matching pair of my son’s socks even when I do a load of laundry a day…
There was only one reasonable solution.
Today will be the last day I will teach at the school I have worked at (and loved) for 10 years. After that, I will be staying at home with my girls. I will be picking up my son from school every day. Work will have to fit around that.
With the blessings that this amazing opportunity will bring, I’m also aware I will be sacrificing the only time in the week when I am not simply ‘Mum’. I will be giving up cups of hot tea at break. Lunchtimes to eat food with 2 hands, excuses to read books, go for meals with colleagues and spend time with my department; the funniest, smartest, most caring department in the whole of England. I will miss them all, more than they will ever know.
When I moved to Cornwall from West Yorkshire in the rainy summer of 2005; I was 22, unmarried, fresh out of teacher training; totally and utterly terrified.
My colleagues were kind, they included me in fun things, showed me new places I’d never have thought to have visited, made me stop taking myself so seriously with relentless teasing and slowly but surely – they ceased to be just colleagues and turned into friends. This school, more accurately the little staff room at the end of the English block, has become my home away from home and those people who took me on as an NQT 10 years ago have had the best of me, the worst of me and all shades in between. They will never know how much they’ve carried me through days, I just didn’t think I could do it.
I will never forget that.
The amazing young people I have had the privilege to teach still inspire me every day; to laugh, to question, to have fun, to be brave and carry on and yet sometimes, to throw a complete wobbler, tell everyone to get stuffed and go and cry in the toilets. Teaching teenagers has never been dull. It has always been fulfilling.
So, with the closing of old doors, there is always the opportunity for new. I will get that time with my youngest child that I always worried I would never get. Getting to know once more, this strong willed and feisty child who gets so little one-to-one time with either parent. I will write more, work at building this teeny tiny blog and aim to get that elusive ‘first publication’ in print.
The world will be a different place for a while, but I think we will learn to love it.
And I have loved my job, my colleagues, my friends, teaching my students, for so many different reasons; but right now, it’s the right time to say goodbye.