It’s a funny feeling, almost new each time I experience it, an anticipation of loss that is somehow fresh and exciting, even though the loss that is about to follow is familiar and regular. I am talking about saying goodbye to my students, as I do every year in early July. It is the same, and will be different. It is different and will be the same. They will come in looking exhausted and elated, somehow bigger than they did before, and we will talk to each other as equals , though they have been equal to me all along. There is a sense of completion entering the room as they enter it, smiling, laughing, not quite believing they have made it across the threshold that says ‘qualified’ and ‘teacher’. I will sign their final forms and hand out a letter that I have written to each of them by hand. They will stash these hurriedly in their bags, showing them to no one. Then they will write letters to my next group of students, who will read them on day one of the same and different journey in September, a lifetime away. There will be jokes about gin and lack of sleep; and more serious lines about making friends and not wasting the early days of the course when they don’t realise how lucky they are. Then I will make a speech in which I will remind them how amazing they are, how proud of them I am, and how much I am looking forward to hearing their stories as their careers develop. I will finish by reading them this poem, which I wrote for every one like them, in another year that was completely the same and exactly different, filled with amazing people, the name I use at the start of every email I send to them, because we need reminding sometimes, of our uniqueness, and that someone bothered to notice it.


With thanks to all my readers.

I am taking a break now and will return in the autumn.