Yesterday I left my role as Course Leader for Media Production (TV & Film) in the FE sector with the goal of completing my Doctorate write up over the forthcoming weeks. It signals a transformative and indeed reflexive time for me. I received some wonderful, thoughtful words and creative gifts. As a ‘thank you’ and in honour of all my colleagues who have worked so tirelessly and done some amazing work with vocational students over the past 14 years, I wrote the following poem:
As I Turn the Page
As I turn the page, this chapter here ends.
Whilst I fully acknowledge it’s the right time to leave my good friends.
There is no denying FE is tough, put politely somewhat unique,
But after 14 years I feel I’ve reached my FE peak.
A necessary move; tinged with sadness,
bittersweet converged with gladness.
Aren’t you scared? I was recently asked.
Afraid of what? I thought. Of others or myself?
Not a chance, the thought soon passed.
My desk is now packed.
Laptop and keys returned on request,
As I move forward, unafraid,
of living my own conquest.
For years I have talked of artistic visionaries, on what others create;
Now time to lay focus on my own research and craft of writing – no time to wait.
Knowing now is right for me, feeling free informed a critical choice
My time here proving essential to finding my own voice.
I’ve been a rainbow in many a clouded tutorial, the students they know.
Encouraged peers to pursue masters and provided comfort for others feeling low.
I’ve facilitated media careers, and many I’ll never know.
Thus, the beauty of teaching, it is in the silent seeds that we sew.
Having witnessed years of undeserved denouncement and criticism of our turf,
Promise one thing, always know your worth.
For if the road ahead remains tough,
Always know you are enough.
You just are enough!
The latter repetition was intended for emphasis, not lazy grammar Mr Ofsted.
As I seek out to redesign my own regulatory framework in my own thinking shed.
In a world of data, I still see faces!
In a world of judgement;
Let them leave no traces.
No traces to map the rest of the way,
For that belongs to you; autonomy to find your own way.
Whatever the journey, whatever the route.
Invest in yourself for you are the fundamental shoot.
So, as I walk towards footsteps that don’t yet exist,
And continue the struggle with an unapologetic raised fist.
For as a woman who is a daughter, a mother, a student, and a writer with a voice who
has something to say…
It is time to disseminate that knowledge and negotiate my way.
The baton must be passed knowing I tried my best,
A re-versioning of myself – as a critical life test.
So not to milk or eek out this goodbye any more,
Thank you all for your energy, for the many conversations, for the laughs and sometimes
sorrowful narratives we have shared at our core.
As I grab my hat and coat for one last time,
one illogical ‘My Little Pony’ song continues to chime…
‘I love horses, they’re the best of the animals. I love horses, they’re my friends.’
The madness of Ofsted (2004) remains a permanent memory for me.
An example of laughing hysterically, a strategy to get us through; drinking copious
amounts of coffee and tea.
And finally, then, as I turn the page of this particular chapter,
I go leaving the campus with one less scouser to share in the laughter.
Speaking of which, under the watchful eye of Ms Fox – I know she will support you all
and keep you in toe.
So, continue to laugh, it’s good for the soul and always know you are your own rainbow.