School’s out


Everybody keeps asking me how I’m feeling usually followed by some suggestions. Excited? Nervous? Ready? Sometimes I nod in agreement but most of the time these words don’t seem to deal with the complexity of how I feel. So I thought I’d try to write into words some of those feelings. So at the moment, I’m feeling a little bit heartbroken.

This is something that I’ve not heard people talk about. Maybe it’s because I’m the only one to feel it, or because it just is difficult to articulate. There’s a slight fear that these words may be misconstrued and that if you give something words then it has power and significance. These feelings don’t have more importance than the joy and anticipation I have about my trip, so this is not to get anyone worried. But I’m wanting to be as honest as possible here, so I thought I would write about these thoughts as well.

Time for some context. When I was applying for this trip I was really ready to leave my job. It would probably be an exaggeration to say I hated it, but it was not something I was prepared to do for much longer. My classes were hard, my increase in timetable seemed impossible and I was exhausted and pretty miserable most of the time. I wanted to escape and applying to live in Cambodia seemed a good way to do it. Again, to simplify my reason for applying to just that would be inaccurate, but the timing felt right and that was one of the factors. This was the case up until October half-term.

Then something terrible happened. Something that I still have to come to terms with.

I fell in love with my job.

I fell utterly, devastatingly, irreversibly in love with with being a teacher at a rather difficult school. Yes, it has been a complex love-hate relationship at times, but, for the most part, I’ve loved it. I work with some of most brilliant teachers I know, as well as some fantastically amazing support staff. There are many colleagues that will have my undying respect for what they do and the manner in which they do it.

And then there are the students. I’m not quite sure how they do it but they really get under your skin. The school I work at I full of the loveable rogue types; diamonds in the rough. Yes, they can be a bit sweary, unpredictable and challenging. But they’re also fiercely loyal, joyously lively, and hilariously perceptive. They make you tear your hair out, but give you a laugh or two while you’re doing it.

So saying goodbye to the school has been really hard. A lot of the students and staff I will see again. But there are some I won’t. It was saying goodbye to my year 10s that was particularly hard. I feel like I’m missing out on a really important year of their lives.

But, to sound ridiculous twee, difficult goodbyes remind you that you have something worth missing. And those students and that school is definitely worth that.

5 thoughts on “School’s out

  1. Dad….you have my solumn promise that I will do my very best to keep “the boy” on the straight and narrow!!
    Go and have fun….our year9 loveable rogues will be waiting for you to guide them into year 11!!! XxxX

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  2. Sir it’s George your top g have a good time at that place your going to and you better be back for my results day

    From George Stainer

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    1. ‘Top G’? Really? My niece is more gangster than you and she’s three and she wears flowery dresses and knitted cardigans.

      Seriously though, I will miss you and the rest of 10GTA. Be good while I’m away- just because I’m 6000 miles away doesn’t mean I’m not going to be keeping up with how you’re getting on. You’re a fantastic young man and I’m sure you’ll do me proud. See you around!

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