OK, OK, don’t hate me. Grovelling apologies to colleagues elsewhere who are still in school…. but it was our end of term yesterday.
For some reason, every year I convince myself I will have lots of free time in the second half of the summer term. That is known as not learning from experience! Apart from the predictable – organisation of exams, work on the timetable, setting UCAS applications in progress for the Lower Sixth, reports etc – there are always other unexpected things that crop up, and lots of school events to get involved in.
We had a Seminar Lunch on Monday, where three sixth formers talked on topics of their choice, ranging from women in the French Resistance to the concept of infinity in mathematics and philosophy. I really admired the confidence with which they spoke and answered questions from the audience of 20. I don’t think I could have done anything like as well at their age.
Monday night was the Syndicate Play, which was Fame this year. The kids leaving from the Upper Sixth put this on after the exams. One of the nice things about going to this (apart, of course, from the stunning performances from the girls and boys) is that it’s often the occasion for leavers from the previous year, or even earlier, to come back to see how the current generation are measuring up.
We did a couple of mock interviews on Tuesday at break and lunch – these were well in advance (relating to university applications this Autumn) but are helpful to give kids an idea of the sort of thing they need to prepare for.
After school on Tuesday we had the summer fete – outside for once, in the blazing heat. As usual, an occasion to eat too much, queue for ice-creams, get faces painted and make embarrassingly poor attempts at coconut shy etc. As with the Syndicate Play, previous pupils often come back to visit. One stall this year invited punters to “match the teacher to their teddy” (only photos of the teddies were provided, to safeguard them from kidnap!). Was quite impressed that someone actually managed to get them all. Was perhaps slightly less impressed that a lot of people seemed to match mine up with me – is there something about me which screams out “Moomin”, I wonder?
Final assembly (which was on Wednesday) is always an emotional occasion for leavers, particularly at the end, when the Head reads the Desiderata and then everyone sings Jerusalem. I always feel emotional about the Upper Sixth going too, particularly this year, when there are quite a number in there that I’ve taught for all seven years. The intensity was hugely ramped up this year because our Head is retiring now, after 17 years at the school. She is generally much loved by the kids, not least because she is always ready to listen, cares greatly for the individual and will never give up on anyone.
We had our official leaving do for the Head a couple of weeks ago (the poor woman must be exhausted by all the dos – one with the Governors, one with Parents’ Association, one where old pupils came back, one with other Heads….). But it really hit home when I realised that the final assembly may well end in a different way next year! Personally, I owe a lot to our current Head, I feel in tune with her educational and management philosophy and I like her a lot as a person. I am really going to miss her.