I left school yesterday after 10 years of moulding the minds of the future. I had been building up to this day ever since handing in my notice in November (my Head of Department said my mind had been gone for quite sometime but my body was loitering..) and expected to feel jubilant, exultant and triumphant. But I didn’t. It all felt rather strange and surreal: I was neither happy nor sad, I was neither excited nor nervous. I wouldn’t even describe it as indifference. To be honest I don’t think I was allowing myself to “feel” because sometimes it’s easier to deal with big changes in that way, to try and keep emotion and sentiment out of it otherwise it can all become very messy. What I do have are very strong feelings about WHY I made the decision to leave the teaching profession but that is another potentially very long and lengthy blog post and one which I shall save for another time.
What I will say is that my last day at school was a pleasant one. The sun was shining, staff and student spirits were high (6.5 weeks of freedom await them after all!) and a rather delicious farewell lunch awaited us courtesy of the fabulous Dawn McCue and her equally fabulous kitchen staff who have kept my belly full, satisfied and well-rounded over the past four years:
Following our sumptuous lunch (Dawn, the goat's cheese and veggies parcels were beyond delicious!) we all made our way into the school hall for the leaving speeches. This is me in leaving speech action:
And this is what I said give or take:
It is customary at a time like this to give thanks, gratitude and appreciation in my case, however, I feel that it would be more applicable to offer up some apologies.
I’m going to start with the Junior School staff - I honesty did try to calm the girls down before I sent them back to you but forgive me if they returned in a heightened state of hyperactivity. Singing and games appear to have that effect.
Sarah and Lesley - for flouting health and safety regulations. You’ll be glad to know that after intensive therapy my compulsion to indiscriminately jump on tables has been tempered.
Dawn and the kitchen staff - I have a sordid and sweet-toothed confession. There have been times over the past 4 years that I have taken two desserts, sometimes three, particularly when the sticky toffee pudding and banana bread were on the menu. Ten out of ten for those! But look on the bright side - surely there is no greater compliment to you and your staff than a repeat offender. Thank you for keeping me well-rounded.
The next round of apologies to anyone who has found themselves next to me in a toilet cubicle and been challenged to a pee race. Anyone? I am of the opinion that life should be an adventure at all times and in all places and the porcelain throne is no exception.
Sarah Holland - for throwing myself upon your husband (in an affectionate and innocent way I hasten to add)on a regular basis. Thomas, you have been my partner in crime, my mentor, my educator and avid fan of my sweet treats (no, that's not a euphemism). Here's to our flights to California - same day, different time. May our aircrafts remain airborne at all times.
And finally, to Deb-o-rah, I apologise for.. well, basically for every working day for the last four years. You have been patient, long-suffering, slow to anger, quick to drink - I pushed you to it - It is no secret because very little with me is secret that I worship the ground that Debbie walks on… limps on. She's a feisty, dynamic little package of love and I treasure her friendship which incidentally is one of the reasons why I felt it was time for me to go - better to quit while I was marginally ahead and our friendship remained in tact.
I will now conclude with a poem. I’m not sure if you’re aware but I’m actually quite the accomplished poet.
Roses are red,
violets are blue.
Colleagues of Northampton High…
I LOVE YOU!
Much to my relief it well down very well with those in attendance and poor Debbie could breathe once more - she didn't approve of the reference to pee racing but was probably expecting much worse. Oh ye of little faith! ;) She did make me (and everyone else!) laugh when she said that the four speeches she was giving would all be brief. "In fact", she continued, "Ceri's will be the same length as her attention span in departmental meetings." Touché, Deborah, touché.
Parting can be such sweet sorrow but in these modern times, dominated by social media, I doubt it's the last time I'll be seeing these beautiful faces:
And thus I bid teaching farewell. Whether it's for a short spell or for considerably longer only time will tell. For now, however, I, the GW, am moving onto pastures new, filled with hope and promise and brimming with ideas that I will now have the time to explore! All I ask is that you join me on this journey to the unknown because with my Warriors by my side to encourage, motivate and inspire there is nothing that a Ginger Warrior cannot do!