Every year that I teach goes in a blur. It feels like I’m on a 6 to 8 week cycle with the bottom of the wash basket** only being seen once a cycle (**insert any household task that only gets done in the holidays!) and then the next thing you know its a new year and we get to do it all over again. This year has been no different and it feels like last month when I walked into my new school … time really does go too fast. I can’t believe that this time last year I was preparing to sit the new GCSE as an external candidate. Everywhere I’ve been this year I’m sure I’ve bored people with what a fantastic experience it was … even the actual exam bit was ace! The best part however was the reminder of what the pressure feels like for my students … it’s been so long since I sat exams of any sort that I’d forgotten how it feels. No! Scrap that! the best part was being a real part of the process – discussing the questions with the students after the exam and what answers they’d got compared to mine … there were even our highest attaining kids talking to me in the corridor asking me what I’d written for question X and they’d leave buzzing knowing that I’d got that specific question wrong!! By paper 3 I was tempted to turn around and walk in the opposite direction if I saw them heading my way (That’s a joke by the way!!) … the whole experience was brilliant!! I loved it soooo much I’m doing the iGCSE next year and given that I’ve promised my goddaughter that I’ll sit Maths AND English at the same time as her I have no way out … what have I done???
Today, I had another timely reminder of a different ilk … this time I was reminded of the impact we make as teachers. I received a text from my hubbie with a name, the school I used to work at and a question mark. Straight away I rang him to ask what it was all about … he tells me he is stood next to this ex-student of mine right at the very minute. For many of us, we all know that meeting ex-students is not a unique situation until you factor in the fact that both myself and this guy were both born in the same town in South Wales (I’m the same age as his dad!) and his family moved up to Redditch for a couple of years and then moved back to Wales when, he went into year 11 (or around that time) – it was the days of early entry (**Sighs** I will argue the toss over the way this was used to better the life chances for the type of kids I taught at the time EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK!!) and he sort of just disappeared. He was missed!
When I rang my husband, the phone was passed to this ex-student and some of the first words out of his mouth were “you got me my grade C!” … he was so keen to tell me how he was getting on and all I was thinking was “that’s all very nice of you to say but YOU got you that grade!” … he then went onto tell me how he’d been in the army for a few years and what he’d been up to for the last few years. It turns out that he had again moved back to the Midlands and both him and my husband now work on the same “patch” as BT engineers (don’t hate!) in Worcestershire and my hubbie was supporting him on a job about 20 miles from where we now live. The odds of this happening seem pretty slim (please don’t be that smart arse who works out the actual odds!) but regardless of whether the odds are slim or not I came off the phone with a massive grin on my face knowing that somewhere I played a very small part in him becoming the man he is today. Genuinely very proud of him.
At times, especially in the silly season it’s easy to feel that every year is “more of the same” … it’s not! So here I am … just bookmarking myself a reminder that what we do matters! This is why I teach.