A year ago I was discussing career opportunities and thinking about forward planning for retirement (at 90). I was hoping that the third year into our new building would bring stronger commitment from the team in the development of a better and enhanced mathematical education and learning experience for our students. In particular for our invisible students, and also those who are challenged and anxious about maths, not forgetting those who have somehow been ‘lost’ during their earlier school experiences of maths.
A year later and I have left, after a very traumatic and stressful period of illness which left me literally on the brink, and which caused my family endless weeks and months of worry and pain. There are a host of reasons how and why, and I look back at the numerous occasions when I sought support only to be denied. We were suppose to work in a blame free culture. There are so many sadnesses and dreadful incidents which I could dwell on, but it would not change the outcome – I think that was inevitable. I never thought I would leave my students, ‘my’ school, the position of responsibility, and my role assisting in student learning. The grief and feelings of such huge loss are akin to a close bereavement – a huge part of me has died.
So I will tell you that I had some truly wonderful experiences with inspiring and exceptional students. Each one of them has blessed me with their gifts of patience, humility, resourcefulness, humour, forgiveness…. and I could list a thousand more ways in which each student fed my passion for learning and made me a better human being. I salute those young people and hope they all succeed and prosper, enjoy love and respect, and have long and healthy lives.