At 22 years of age I certainly do not feel old enough to be attending secondary school reunions. I guess I had always imagined them to be just like we have all seen in the many American films; the ugly loner is now a gorgeous model and everyone is competing to show that they are the happiest and have had the most successful life, hiding any element of weakness or negativity. However, I never expected to attend one. Most certainly not with my Mother, less than a decade after I left! Yet, on Friday evening I walked into the old school hall of my secondary school along with my Mum, Auntie and brother and did just that.
Among numerous other changes, the old building is about to be demolished and the school is converting to academy status. To raise funds and celebrate the end of an era, an alumni celebration for all ex pupils was held. Although I mostly attended because my mum wanted to go but was unsure, it really was great to see old teachers again and a few other familiar faces. So many spoke to me like a fellow professional, not a teacher and a student, and it was such a good feeling to reply with, “I’m teaching!” when asked by so many of my old teachers what I am up to now. Many discussed their careers, next moves, old stories of events that happened during my time there. So many memories flooded back as I stood in that hall, where I had been awarded the honor of Head Girl just seven years prior.
As the night went on it struck me- not once had I responded to that question by saying I was in my final year at uni. A student. Just completed my teaching degree… With confidence and pride I said I was a teacher. I explained my new job for September and the process I had gone through to get that and talked of the school I am currently working in as a KS2 ICT on supply. I discussed my career plans and my placement experiences. School locations, why I chose that particular school and the application process. I conversed with my old teachers about their recent or future school moves and career paths. And that’s when I realised that mentally, I have now made that transition. University already feels like ages ago. I no longer think of myself as a student. Now I am a teacher.
And just in case it hadn’t quite sunk in and not felt real enough yet, the next day I received a copy of the 13/14 staff list with my name on and a copy of the school newsletter to parents introducing the new staff for September. Miss W- Year 4 teacher. Me.