The news was broken that I was leaving. Staff formed an orderly queue to express their sorrow, well I say queue; it was more of a Conga line. The last time I gave news of my leaving to my previous class, the first question I was asked was “Can we wear our own clothes to the end of term party?” This time the reaction was more subdued. One child told me she would miss me. “I will miss you more” I replied. To this, even the normally stoical teaching assistant turned and had the briefest of blubs.
Speaking of weeping, one child could not stop his own tsunami of tears, although it was not as a reaction to my news. As a result of ‘Read Write Inc’ (or ‘reed rite regress’ as I call it) our classes have now been mixed up in the mornings. Among the children who visit my class, is a child from Reception who sobs constantly.
I’m not used to dealing with tears and went from social worker sympathy to barely concealed contempt of the grizzling green. By the end of the lesson I’d sent him on his way, determined to make a better impression next time. I saw his teacher in the hall, “I think when he looks at me he sees this,” I explained, I emitted a deep growl, screwed up my face and used fingers to represent horns on my head. At this point the child wandered around the corner pushing the lunch trolley. Our eyes met. My pose froze. It was decided he should be moved elsewhere.
What made my leaving all the more real was receiving a job alert email for my position. I decided to give it a miss. Although should I decide to return, there’s a cat-flap for ex-employees I can crawl through. But just as time waits for no man, so the school day gets a shift on and what I thought was a strange hairy sea creature turned out to be a child’s hair piece, just as another child asked me if I’d heard of a “Jagger Bomb”.
At the end of the day I sat alone in my classroom. I shut my eyes and experienced a flashback of my time at the school. I saw me and I was surrounded by a warm-hearted, sincere and supportive team. It was at this point I realized that the wrong memories had flashed past.
To the future and as yet it’s unclear what I will do next. Postman? Clown? Gigolo? Perhaps I will return to teaching in September, either to teach part-time or teach full-time (at school where children are only expected to make half the effort).