At the end of the summer term teachers gather in the staffroom to say goodbye to colleagues who are leaving. This usually involves a speech being made about the teacher in question, often by a senior member of staff, followed by a speech of thanks from the departing teacher. To save everyone a lot of time, I have prepared two speeches that can be rolled out on just such occasions, especially for two people who are not overly fond of each other. No need to thank me.
Senior Staff Member
‘As (insert name) moves on to pastures new, it is time for us to celebrate their achievements at this school and reflect on the practitioner they have become. They have developed into a teacher who is renowned for doing things their own way. Someone who is happy to take a risk, whether that be spending all of the budget in the first few days of the year, or teaching ‘freestyle’, giving the students that wonderful opportunity to create their own learning. Whilst many teachers are engrossed in the more traditional practices of lesson planning and marking, (insert name) has taken a very modern and liberal approach, enabling the students to make progress in new and experimental ways. I need barely tell you how devastated I was to lose such an innovative teacher when they were ‘headhunted’ by another school, but I am sure that I and the rest of the staff will never forget the difference you have made. Teaching here will never be the same again.’
‘Firstly, thank you (insert name) for such very kind words. You have been a source of inspiration to me in so many ways over the years. Your subtle style of leadership has allowed me to become the teacher I am today - unfettered by the support that other members of the school have received. You have enabled me to concentrate on delivering outstanding lessons without the extra burden of bureaucracy and the added complications of accurate data. Whilst other teams have had their time taken up by meetings, you have given us the chance to plan and manage ourselves. So, my journey. When I first boarded the train to outstanding, you took me under your wing, giving advice freely, even if they were ideas you never practised yourself. As I gathered pace, rocketing past the stations of ‘satisfactory’ and ‘average’, you kept my wheels glued to the track with your constant, incessant, constructive criticism. As I screeched to a halt at the station of ‘outstanding’, you were not there to greet me, but I knew you were behind me all the way. Many thanks. This journey would not have been the same without you. And of course, my journey would not have been gratifying and life-changing without the students.’