As we start the final term of the year I have found myself reflecting on my many years at Fyling Hall. It is as usual a very busy term. Year 11 and year 13 are about to 3 start their external exams (the first to run since June 2019) and KS3 and Year 10 will have internal exams over the next few weeks. For those who have been part of the school for some time there is excitement as they discuss the end of year activities; Sports Day, The Big Walk, It’s a knockout and of course The Leavers Dance. For the staff there will inevitably be reports to write. This is of course part of a teachers role but these are especially important for our leavers as for some it will be the last school report they receive; a chance to focus on what has been achieved and for those lower down the school what still needs to be done. I have written many 1000’s over the years and have often wondered what it would be like if we allowed the pupils to write their own. Would they remember the moment when they suddenly remembered the tricky grammar construction we had worked on 2 terms ago, or the time when they beat their class in one of our online games? Would they celebrate the high points or simply dwell on the lows, when they found something challenging or felt overwhelmed? I have been lucky to glimpse some of this as news of my retirement plans broke. I don’t actively search out former pupils but should they happen to find me on social media I am always happy to receive their news and I have received many messages from pupils reminding me of the fun times we’ve had together in the classroom, whether in French or Music (I was Head of Music for 13 years!).
One message, has really stuck with me. From a pupil I taught early in my Fyling Hall career, now working in the Liverpool area. Michael, who was in both my French and Music classes, messaged completely out of the blue as follows:
‘ I’ll never ever forget you. You know, my lessons with you in French and Music are some of my fondest memories of the place. Seriously, never underestimate how much you did for an insecure boy with a passion for music. You always inspired me through music to never give up, just want you to know that and say thank you ‘Michael
To have such an influential role in the lives of young people has been a pleasure. Working with teenagers can be challenging and fulfilling in equal measures but the messages I have received over the last few weeks have shown me that my career has made a difference to many, many young lives. Fyling Hall will always be a part of my family and I am certain that I will meet up with some of the amazing pupils I have taught in years to come and we will laugh about all those shared moments that make school days special. The summer term is always a time for looking back and for moving on. I look forward to seeing our pupils take part in all the fabulous activities this term brings, challenging themselves to do new things and overcoming those ‘I can’ t do it’ moments! As I start to look back I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the very many people I have worked with over the years, to the parents who entrust their children to us, choosing FHS for their education, to the pupils I have taught and of course to Mrs White who gave me the opportunity to work in such a special place 34 years ago. It won’t be ‘goodbye’, just ‘au revoir’, but for now I’m going to enjoy my final summer term.
Cathy Hornung, Head of MFL, Teacher of French, Y11H tutor