The reason why

It’s the end of May. GCSEs are already underway and I’m a nervous wreck. Have I prepared my pupils well enough? Have they been doing the revision I set? Did I cover all the themes and characters properly? Can everyone write a PEAL paragraph in exactly 10 minutes? Will they be OK? Have I let them down? I put on pre-exam breakfasts and afterschool revision sessions. I hand out pens and last minute notes and little good luck charms. I feel like a mother of thirty.

Then, in ones and twos, they come nervously into my classroom proffering envelopes and little packages. Some of them hug me. Some of them rush away quickly before I can say thank you. I open the envelopes and I cry.

Thank you so much for being such an amazing and helpful teacher.

Thank you for everything you have done for our class.

My confidence in myself had plummeted massively, but with your words of encouragement I picked myself up.

You got me obsessed with The History Boys!

Thank you for two wonderful years of English! They’ve been great!

Thank you for being a brilliant English teacher who always tried to make your lessons fun and enjoyable.

Thank you so much for everything you have done for us over the last two years. You’ve been amazing!

You’re a bit nutty but we love you!

Up and down the country, I know many teachers will have received similar cards and, like me, shed a quiet tear or two over them. I think it’s important, today, as we wait for those results to remember what we did it for. Not for numbers, not for grades, but to share our knowledge and enjoyment of our subjects with a new generation. What makes me proud when I read those cards, is the fact that despite the pressures of covering a new curriculum, despite my stresses and worries as I tried to prepare my pupils for a brand new exam specification, we managed to keep that enjoyment of our subject at the forefront of what we were doing. So much of my own satisfaction over the past two years came from watching those pupils develop from children into confident young men and women who will meet life’s challenges and overcome them.

So I just wanted to say thank you too, 11BW. You were the best! I learned as much from you as you did from me and I want to thank you for making me laugh very, very often, for making me tear my hair out on occasion and every single day for making me want to be the teacher you deserve. I didn’t always make it, but you were a tolerant, forgiving bunch and I know that tomorrow, whatever happens, you will meet the future with resilience and confidence. I’m looking forward to being there with you in the morning as we finally achieve #squadgoals2017!

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