Thursday, July 14, 2011

a very tough day at the coal face

Yesterday was always going to be a tough day.
Although there’s another 7 days before the end of term (but, hey, who’s counting?), there are so many activities happening over the next few days that the Head Teacher decided that after school yesterday was the time wish formal fond farewells to departing staff (which includes me). I knew I would be expected to say a few words – but, thankfully, there were three senior members of staff (who had clocked up over 100 years of service at the school!) who would be taking centre stage.
These are just five lovely things that happened to me yesterday:
1. Just before lunchtime, a girl who had left school a year ago and had been the bane of my life (behaviour, school refusing, exclusions, attitude etc etc) knocked on the door of the House office. “Sir, I’ve come along to a meeting about my younger brother and have just been told you’re leaving… and I wanted to say goodbye and thank you for all you did… and, sir, I’ve got a job and I’m on hairdressing course and I’ve sorted myself out and I now realise how stupid I was not to have made more of myself when I was at school. But, sir, I DO realise that now!”.
2. Just after lunchtime assembly – Bex (my 27 year old brilliant boss) told me I had to accompany her to a “little” presentation. Fine, I thought, that’s very nice of them – perhaps a handful of House tutors and maybe a bottle or two of red wine handed over? But, instead of being taken into the House office, I was directed into one of the large classrooms in the Language Block – and I suddenly realised that there were about 50 members of staff sitting waiting for me (believe me, with our school’s split lunchtime, this is pretty amazing in itself!). I was made to read out a message contained in a large envelope: “We thought that after 6 years at Norton Hill, you deserved a proper break, so…. we are whisking you and a guest away to Spain for a golfing extravaganza at a time to suit you!”. It transpired that nearly 70 people had clubbed together to make this possible.
I was absolutely gobsmacked…. stunned…. speechless… humbled.
I uttered some incoherent words of gratitude and thanks, but it was one of those occasions when words weren’t really enough.
3. A small group of Year 10 girls (some on the verge of tears) knocked on the House office door and wanted to say goodbye (and have their photograph taken with me – what a thrill for them!) before departing off to school camp the following day.
4. This involved the after-school presentations: I managed to get away with only having to speak for a couple of minutes and, hopefully, was able to convey my genuine appreciation for their tolerance, encouragement and friendship.
5. Finally, I’d put up posters in the staff room at school (and issued invites to school colleagues via facebook) suggested a fun boules evening at Queens Square in Bristol. In the event, 30 people turned (amazing considering that only a dozen or so of teachers at school live in the Bristol area) and we played boules, ate picnics and drank the odd glass of something. It was absolutely lovely.
A truly remarkable, memorable day (or, as Lou Reed would sing: “Just a Perfect Day”).
Photo: I failed to take ANY photographs of the day but these are just two of my amazing bosses, Bex and Kate (I had four during the course of my six years!).


Alice said...

Oh Dad! I'm having a little cry - this is WONDERFUL! You couldn't have dreamed of a more encouraging visit and you must be blown away by the Spain trip - totally perfect!

I'm very proud of you and very, very pleased you're having the chance to hear how appreciated you are. Xxx

Pete Gilbert said...

What an amazingly lovely day.

Hannah said...

Woo hoo big daddy stevie b, a lovely day, for a lovely man. Hurrah! Oh and I'm thinking of taking up golf, I hear Spain is a great place to start! Hx

Tracey Wheeler said...

Couldn't have happened to a nicer man. Well deserved, I'm sure. x