School has now finished, the celebrations are all over and now I have time to sit down, relax and write the family blog.
School, as schools always are, get very busy towards the end of the year. I attended children’s disco’s, organised 2 class trips (I had a stomach virus during one and had the following day off), helped at the PTA Summer Fete, organised the School Sports Day, organised and attended the Area Sports meeting, attended Governors meetings, took more assemblies than I care to remember, and I did a bit of teaching in between.
In the end we had three other members of staff crawling through the escape tunnel with me. Wilma, our Scottish Year 2 teacher who was going back to Scotland (her marriage had broken up this year). Anne, our office ancillary who was ready for retirement and doesn’t like the new idea of ancillaries being called Teaching Support Assistants and being asked to cover classes. Eleanor, the school secretary and bursar who has moved on to a much bigger and better job (and is avoiding the coming backlash of some injudicious budgetary decisions by the present Head). As Anne and I have been with Leicestershire Authority for 25 years we were given £250 to spend on a present for ourselves (of course the money comes out of school funds!). Anne had a bike and opted for a Satmap Active 10 (a brilliant bit of kit) to help me on the many walks I intend to take.
Of course I attended a function with the Governors and they presented me with a Gold pen and a silver paper weight, and then a function with the PTA and was presented with a voucher for a Rotavator, the dress I wore at a previous ‘Stars in their Eyes’ Talent Contest and a case of wine. A staff farewell was held for the four of us at the Angel Hotel. Food was very good, some people got very drunk and I entertained them with an impromptu (prepared speech) which ended with Wilma throwing some England memorabelia at the audience. The most difficult was the final day farewell with the Year 6 children at the Leaver’s Assembly. Hankies were passed around staff, parents and children alike as the Richard (Year 6 teacher) conducted a heart wrenching assembly with his class. My turn came at the end with the whole school sobbing with what had gone on previously and I was presented with some more gifts. A similar feeling to that of the condemned man waiting in his cell to meet the hangman’s noose as I stepped up to the front. It wasn’t a moment for light heartedness, so when requested for a speech, I gave the shortest one in 35 years; ‘At the age of around 20yrs I had only 3 ambitions in life; one, to be happy, two, to have a brilliant job, and 3, to meet some wonderful people, and I think I achieved it.’ I held it together long enough to exit.
At the end of the day, I was very touched and very emotional again as parents and children sought me out to say goodbye. People can say such kind things and for once I really did feel appreciated. In the past I have had to comfort parents on occasions who have been distraught over their child and I have always found it difficult, but coping with parent after parent with tears running down their cheeks saying such nice things and recalling memories that I had long since forgotten, but had been very important to them, brought rather moist eyes to yours truly.
To put things into balance, at 4pm I met Sue, Sarah and Jamie at the surgery for our Yellow Fever injections and found out that Jamie and I needed a Typhus booster as well!! The Yellow Fever injections cost £31.45 each! And, you don’t get a guarantee, ouch!
Charlotte, Suraj and Lucas came down on Friday to help with the Retirement BBQ I had organised. Saturday saw us putting up a Marquee and Gazebo in the garden, Sue preparing all the salady things and the meat defrosting nicely. I had made the garden all nice and pretty (even extra cleaned the pool). THEN, at 12 noon we had a rain shower and I checked the Met Office’s weather forecast and it was for light showers (not a problem as we had plenty of undercover space) and temperature falling to 6 degrees, NOT what was needed for an evening BBQ!!!! I had provisionally booked the School Hall and Community Lounge for such a circumstance, so I made the decision to relocate. The afternoon was spent ringing around letting people know and then preparing the Hall and Lounge. Things got a bit hectic at times but we got everything ready on time. Two friends and Suraj did the honours at the BBQ’s for me, Sarah handed out the quiz I had prepared for everybody, Sue was a blur most of the time sorting out food, chatting to people and organising things. Charlotte, like Sarah looked stunning and made me feel very proud to have such pretty daughters (take after their dad). Jamie meandered around helping out (scoffing the food!) and mixing with the guests, having his photo taken. His girl friend Harriet arrived at 10.45pm, she stayed awhile and then they left for another party. Lucas surprised everybody with his quickness of feet and his ability to disappear in a fraction of a second, he was certainly the hit of the party with the ladies (a sign of things to come?). I had a rock band play at the BBQ. They were excellent, they played the set I had requested with a surpise rendition of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’., We all sang along to ‘Teacher leave them kids alone!’ We got into bed at around 1.30am.
Back to reality on Sunday. We spent most of the morning in school, tidying, clearing up and washing. The school hasn’t looked so clean for years! We had a BBQ for lunch with the left over meat. During the afternoon Sarah went with Charlotte and family back to Newark as Sue an I went to the cinema to watch ‘Hot Fuzz’, a brilliantly funny film (I recommend it).
Now the retirement starts.