I honestly believe I am so lucky to be in the job that I am. Not necessarily because I have a passion for Maths (although I do really like it, GEEK!), and certainly not for the amount of paperwork and target setting that is involved.
The main reason I love my job for the vast majority of the time is that I get to work with an amazing group of people every day. The kids. Yes, sometimes they’re hard work, sometimes I may swear a little under my breath to keep me sane but they also make me laugh on a daily basis and fill me with a huge amount of pride that I have played a small role in helping them move on to become the people that they are today.
Sometimes you see them a few years later and they are so happy and excited to fill you in on what they’ve been up to and where they are now. Some are parents, some are married, some have moved away and started a new life elsewhere and it’s always lovely to hear how they are doing.
But for some this doesn’t happen.
Over the past twelve years I’ve taught a couple of thousand pupils and I’m happy to say most of them are doing great, but it’s the ones who never got the chance to grow up that make my heart heavy, and it’s the names of those students who will always stay with me.
Today we heard the very sad news that one of our ex-pupils, who is only 19, has incurable cancer. Just typing those words makes me feel cold. She will be leaving a young daughter behind. I can’t even begin to understand how that young woman is feeling. The thought of ever leaving O behind is the one thing that keeps me awake at night, so how she is starting to deal with this at such a young age, I really don’t know.
And it makes me think of my three other students who didn’t make it out of their teens. One boy who died of cancer, just a few months after leaving us in Year 11. Another boy who fell from a hotel balcony whilst on holiday with his friends just weeks before his 18th birthday. And much more recently the boy who was found at the bottom of a cliff.
I remember these students so full of life. Cheeky, at times a bit annoying, with the full lives ahead of them. Lives they didn’t get to live.
I know terrible things can happen at all ages, and it is always sad, but I can’t help but feel an extra bit of sorrow when it happens to a child, or a teenager. The ones who never got the chance to grow up.