This is a bit of a bittersweet message to write to my Year 11 English boys because this is not how our first and last year together at Fyling Hall School was supposed to end. But I don’t want this note to you to just be all doom and gloom – that was never what our lessons were like. And that is an understatement!
I want to start this piece of writing as I started my time at Fyling Hall school with five names: Declan Pattinson, Trafford (TJ) Newman, Harry Brindley, Jeremy Normanton and Josh Martyn-Johns. I came for an interview to work at the school last Easter when I had just completed all my cancer treatment and had come out of the other side in one piece. I’d always wanted to work at Fyling Hall for years and it seemed like the universe was giving me a great big hug when I saw the job of English teacher advertised.
My interview lesson was with you five boys. I had to teach you about how to avoid run-on sentences and it went well, especially the part when I cracked a hilarious joke that you all still remember to this day. Yes, I do think I’m funny, TJ! And I feel like I’ve been laughing ever since I met you all, which is why it’s so sad now that I know that I’ll never teach you again.
You’ve all worked extremely hard towards your English GCSE so it’s a shame that you can’t see it through to the end but nevertheless, I am very proud of how far you’ve all come since September. Lesson highlights for me are too many to list but include the very brief production of ‘Journey’s End’ you did last year during English lessons, homework club on Wednesday evenings with a cuppa and Swiss roll, and the constant grief you always gave me about any reference I made to a past class from a previous school I taught at. Our last lesson together was one of my favourite moments, especially when Mr Thomas’s English class joined us, and we all said goodbye to the tune of Harry playing guitar and Beau singing.
I don’t want to bring up the Paper 1 structure question, but I feel it is appropriate as our time together seems to be cyclical; I started my time at Fyling Hall with you and prematurely finished this year with you five. I’m talking about what you did in the final assembly when you all surprised me and went to the front to read out a poem called ‘The Armada’, which you know is one of my favourite poems but that I can’t read it because it’s too sad. I have already tried to tell you how much that meant but I don’t think words do that feeling justice.
To my Y11 English boys . . . Thank you for doing that and thank you for the past few months. I’m going to miss the five of you, but I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing what you all get up to when life returns to normal. I hope to see you all very soon and, in the meantime, I’ll take care of our class mascots and that group photograph, which you all love so much!
Love from Mrs Milner, Teacher of English
Postscript – just some of the things my Year 11 English boys have been up to during lockdown . . . keep in touch boys!