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I started writing this blog post sitting on the bus this morning, making my way to work for my last day in my current role as an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher. I’ve been doing this job for almost 6 years, and if you count my time as a trainee teacher my association with Bromley College actually goes back to 2006.

It actually feels so weird to be writing about this. Having worked at the same place for over half a decade, I’ve seen a fair amount of change over those years. Improvements in premises with new builds and changes in senior management have come, with quite an impact every time. I went through redundancy procedures at the end of each of the first three academic years. We’ve had out classroom resources updated (usually in the form of installation of IWBs) and I’ve been involved in delivering training sessions relating to making the most of the new technological tools in the college.

I’ve also been witness to some things that have stayed the same: the ever present instability of the education sector, further education in particular at the whim of successive governments with their agenda. The much more ‘for profit’ environment that sections of education provision seems to be heading towards. Being judged constantly by success rates, something that often isn’t wholly under the classroom teacher’s control, having to make report after report and constantly monitoring students’ attendance and progression. It’s been draining in some respects.

Despite how much it has taken out of me, I do have an overall sense of satisfaction with my work here and how I have developed in my career over the last few years. In addition to the opportunity to deliver training sessions, I’ve also been given more responsibility in my department and have often become the person my colleagues turn to for help with techy matters. I’d like to think I’ve become a helpful member of the college staff, contributing towards our development as a department. I will miss it.

I will miss my colleagues. Over the years they have been so supportive to me as someone who was newish to ESOL and over the years sometimes scrabbled for ideas when teaching. Your colleagues are such an integral part of how you get on in any place of work. I couldn’t really have asked for a better group of people to work with. I will miss walking into that welcoming staff room.

I will miss the students. As much as issues relating to teaching and getting on with the people in my classroom might have given me a headache or two over the years, they are a big part of what makes me enjoy teaching. You might think that I am a bit mad to have taught all day just before making a switch to a new job the next morning, but I was scheduled to teach both of my tutor groups and I won’t regret having the opportunity to say goodbye to my students. Generally I have felt very proud of what they’ve achieved in improving their English and succeeding academically this year, knowing that it is largely down to them but also recognising and acknowledging the part I’ve been able to play in motivating them to achieve.

I’m tired, really tired. But there is definitely a sense of satisfaction in what I have achieved myself so far, and nervous excitement about what is to come. Bring it on!