Friday, 17 July 2015


You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up to more than I can be.

This has always been a favourite song, ever since I first heard it.  It has the same impact as songs like 'You are the wind beneath my wings': not necessarily great poetry, great melody or great harmony but with a certain something that touches my heart strings.

When I was little, first of all I wanted to be an opera singer after discovering 'Carmen'  at a very young age.  Then I read 'The Small Woman' (a biography about Gladys Aylward - Google it) and decided I wanted to be a missionary.  More realistically, after what was a profound experience for young me, I latched onto teaching and that never changed.

The 'experience' was this.
When I was in the top juniors at primary school, the infant teacher (it was a three class village primary school) needed to leave school half an hour or so before the end of the school day for a while.  The head decided that he would put two of us top juniors in the class to look after the Infants (you couldn't do that nowadays) and to read them a story.

When my turn came the infants were obviously in a lively mood and ended up reducing me to tears as I returned to my own classroom.  The head, in his wisdom, sent me back in the next afternoon and, I strongly suspect, read them the riot act in between.  I had a wonderful time and, when I got home, I am told that I announced very firmly that I wanted to be a teacher and I wanted to teach little ones.  I suspect that my parents were most relieved that the opera and missionary phases had vanished into thin air!

So I became a teacher after completing a Cert. Ed. and, apart from time off to have a family, that's what I have always been.

Today is the end of that journey.

Yesterday we had a special assembly.  There are three of us retiring, reflecting seventy years of contact with Newlands Spring School, one way or another.  The head said various kind and lovely things about us all.  We were presented with cards from each year group (more about that in another post), bouquets of flowers and some rather nice looking (proper) champagne.  We presented gifts to the school.  Then, to finish, the whole school stood and sang to us, in two parts, 'You raise me up'.  

Now we have a good name for music at our school.  The singing was stunning, really beautiful.    It is one of my favourite songs anyway and it utterly reduced me to tears - and I wasn't the only one.

The deputy head produced a box of tissues and handed them round! At the end of the day 'my' parents presented me with gifts and cards.  Then parents of children I used to teach also came to see me and offer their best wishes.  It was highly emotional and very lovely!

Just today to get through now!  And this evening's party!

But now, guess what . . . coffee time!


Chrissie said...

That sounds like a wonderful goodbye - it must be lovely (and emotional) to receive such a great acknowledgement of your achievements, effort, love and impact on the people and the place you've worked for so long.
hope the party is fun!

Diane said...

Joy it is always sad when you shut the door on an era but the exciting thing is you are opening the door on a whole new life. From now on when you get up, whatever time that is, you can plan out your day in accordance with nature. If it is wet miserable and cold then you can potter indoors. If it is glorious and sunny then you can potter outdoors. You can eat when you are hungry and sleep when you are tired and if you want to sit up till 3am watching rubbish on TV then you can. If you have always fancied hang gliding now is the time to start taking lessons.

Sonja said...

What a wonderful way for the children and the school to say good-bye (although it is not good-bye for you really, is it) - it sounds absolutely lovely and I can well believe that you all wept, so moving and such recognition of your many years of wonderful work at the school. Amongst the tears, you must feel very proud of your fantastic teaching, of how many children and young people you have helped and taught. Amazing.
Yes, a new phase does start tomorrow, well, the weekend first, but it is the summer break anyway, so you wouldn't have been going back into school for a while anyway. I think it's great that you are going to keep your connections to school and I think you will enjoy it even more with there not being so much pressure and work connected with your time there.
Have a wonderful last day - thinking of you!

Annabeth said...

What a lovely 'send-off' to celebrate the end of an era (it suddenly started to rain here a bit too!)

You've given all those children a great and lasting gift of a very precious memory of having had a wonderful teacher!

Happy (semi) retirement but first of all have a great Summer holiday! xx

CrystalWitch said...

Hi Joy.
I first "met" you in the world of OU First Class, not that I think we really interacted much apart from a few "oh, that sounds good, must try it" in reply to posts in the cookery conference. But I followed your link to this blog and I've been reading for so long that I almost forget that you have no idea who I might be... and again beyond a rare moment when I had a bit of information I thought might be of help to you, I haven't really commented here either. Today was different. Your post today brought a tear or two - such a lovely celebration of what you have done over your time at the school. So it was time to reply for once. I have loved reading your "Diary of a Teacher", I'm looking forward to your "Diary of a..." whatever comes next. Enjoy your last day as a Teacher and many, many good wishes for a fabulous retirement.


Anonymous said...

I hoped you enjoyed your final day with pupils and colleagues. Eight years ago, I alone among my friends had retired after nearly 38years teaching and on the day they all went back to school, I took myself for a pampering session followed by lunch out. It was bliss. Try and see in September-you'll feel really naughty!! Catriona

Joy said...

Thank you, everyone!

Chrissie: Yes, it has been a lovely few days in many ways, albeit pretty difficult at times. I don't think it has really sunk in yet though.

Diane: What you describe is something that I am very much looking forward to. It is starting to feel great.

Sonja: You're right, it isn't really goodbye as I will still have much contact with the school. That feels good too.

Annabeth: I went into teaching to 'make a difference' and people have assured me this week that I have done so, bless them. The next six weeks will feel lovely too!

Suzie: Those were the days, weren't they, on dear old FirstClass. Are you Suzie D (won't give the rest of the surname)? I am really grateful to all those who have read this blog day in and day out over years, even when it was dull and boring and there wasn't much to say! :-) Please do keep on commenting now you have de-cloaked!

Catriona: That sounds a pretty good scheme . . . maybe swimming, a walk in the country with my camera, making a new bread recipe . . .

Thanks again, everyone!
J x