For the last nine years at the end of the first week in July I have been saying goodbye to Primary PGCE trainee teachers as they complete their initial teacher education.
It is a celebratory occasion, yet also poignant. We acknowledge and take delight in the resilience of these bright, energetic and creative people in achieving the status of Newly Qualified Teacher. But we are also sad to see them go. As we have endeavoured to shape them, they have shaped us.
Many of them come to us having made decisions to change career and set up home in a new part of the country, in strange accommodation. Many come to us not really knowing what to expect other than that they are passionate about passing on their love of learning and teaching because someone passed it on to them first. They all want to be brilliant.
I am in awe of them and their positivity, their iron-clad faith in themselves as agents of change. They persuade me that I have the best job in the world. Watching and talking to them in school and at the university I am further persuaded that everything is going to be all right.
Reasons for Life
after Mark Halliday
Because of the desks. And the luck.
And because there are too many eighteen year olds
running round with guns because Miss Eve said
‘Not now, Darren, let’s get back to the Pharaohs.’
Because: ‘Not one day went by
when reading was easy.’
And because Miss Brown ignored
the sunlight, filled with dust motes,
and had you sketching shells
from her Greek holiday instead.
And in spite of Miss Janners in Geography and everyone in Physics,
there was Mr Lee in Chemistry and Mrs Crump in Spelling. Especially
Because once, the classroom emptying,
the blackboard groaning with homework,
someone approached your crouching form
and said how pleased they were
you had attended their lesson
and had you considered readingLawrence.
Because if they don’t get it from you,
who will they get it from?
Because of the desks of forgetting,
the sunlight filled with dust
of wanting to be outside
and the luck of finding someone who found you interesting
enough to believe in.
Because your dad was, or mum was
and the sight of a kitchen table piled high with blue books
appeals to you in the way computers and cars
sing to those you grew up with,
who now live in suburbs you avoid
because they are full of roundabouts.
Because you burn with it,
which brings you here
to this room, just one more filled with desks and sunlight and dust motes,
and because time means nothing to Isha, and Ashraf
is making plans to look nobody in the eye.
from Riddance (Worple Press, 2012)