End of the world as we know it and I feel fine

Posted on July 31, 2014

Took several phone calls today – one from VW asking if I wanted to buy another up! and another confirming the end of an era.

I look back with fondness at what I achieved since 1987 and the fantastic friends I’ve accrued from both colleagues and ex pupils along the way. Living above a shop in Shaw, Oldham and walking to work was not the most salubrious starts in 1987, but it was an excellent place to begin reading Of Mice and Men to eager god fearing students, making lifelong friendships with Steve, Jane, Nick etc.

A 6 mile hop to Failsworth in 1990 made me toughen up with street wise kids, making some of my best friends there – amongst staff and students – Anne, Charlie, Eddie and Dillys, Matt, Grogues, Mark, Paul, Mike, Stephen etc. I don’t buy into the safeguarding culture of not being friendly with kids – surely if you get on with your teacher, you’re more motivated to do well? They’re 36 plus now and still close confidantes.

Bolton in 93 – such a fantastic school – walks at weekends up Pen Y Ghent and Ingleborough without risk assessments, just common sense. And you know what? No one died or got injured. Rachel, Warren, Julia, and others from Harper Green credit those hill walks with shaping their future love of mountains.

A move down the M6 to Stoke on Trent, with its fantastic White Peak scenery and its challenging schools. Still a rite of passage. And those Scouse sounding Stokies, Tim, Dave, Carl, Gemma, Simon will all hopefully be there at my 50th.

Scunthorpe next, OMG, not as grim as it sounds, with lovely people and a road network to die for. Best mates made with colleagues like Richard. Living so close to my workplace I could see my classroom from my bedroom – popping home at lunch for a DVD for the afternoon was quality.

Then a year in a huge school in Doncaster taught me loads about Media and Theatre studies before we headed south and east.

I’ve realised since November 2013 that this year would be my last. I took a demotion to do something I do well, I believe, in a school I thought I’d retire in. It fulfilled all expectations – but 49 years of age was not the age I had in mind to actually retire!

Felt sad at first but you know what it’s not really. It’s an opening, it’s a new beginning. So the champagne I bought for our 15th wedding anniversary is being uncorked tonight – the 31st July 2014, both as a valedictory farewell to teaching and a salute to my new career as a Sales Associate in an estate agency, nearby.

Tomorrow, 1st August 2014, I am no longer an expert on Steinbeck, Shakespeare, poetry, drama, writing and DVDs but an apprentice learning about brochures, sales, floorplans, marketing.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Cheers everyone.

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