The last lesson came for my Yr 11. Can't say I was looking forward to it as I'd come to enjoy teaching this talented, sparky group, and I also enjoyed being with them, I liked their intelligent, amusing company. Well, the bell rang and I trudged into the classroom to be told in no uncertain terms to go away. Slightly miffed, I was about to retort, when I saw the grin on the face of the girl who'd told me to get lost. "We'll come and get you when we're ready," she added pushing me out of the classroom and into the English office.
Slightly bemused I waited, then the same girl came in and told me that they were now ready for me. I wandered back into the classroom and stopped dead. All the kids were standing in a row on the back desks holding a giant banner that read 'We love Straker.' S0me were holding large sheets of sugar paper as well, on which they'd written things like 'Welsh Dragon', 'We love you Miss'' "We love The Welsh Witch"...
I had to leave, back into the office.
I've taught a long time and I've had great classes, but this is the first time that a class has done this.
It was hard to know what to say, but practice came to the rescue... along with my white mice, which, as promised in earlier lessons, (White Mice for Effort) I distributed as a sort of fun recognition of their work over the last two years.
On the following evening, at the year 11 leavers' prom, one of my girls grabbed my arm and pulled me over to have a photograph taken with her, saying as she did so, "I've got to have a photo Miss, you're my hero. My role model..."
I'm not often rendered speechless.
I've often told my classes that my role model is Granny Weatherwax (Terry Pratchett's wonderful creation), that she's a superb role model for all women... Does this mean I'm now Granny Straker?
What a truly scary thought!!
The following day, one of my girls presented me with a photograph of the class with their banners and me, taken with a phone. It's a bit blurry and the resolution isn't brilliant, but the smiles and their affection is crystal clear and it holds pride of place on my book shelf.