I have seen you almost every day of your teenage life. It is quite possible that I am the first face you see, or the first voice to say good morning to you. I hope this is not entirely true, but I know for some of you it is. Often I am greeted with smiles, or a silent nod.
I constantly nag you about your punctuality, uniform and (lack of) equipment, not because I enjoy being a moany cow, but because I want you to be a better person. I say, “When you get a job you won’t be rocking up late, will you?” And you reply: “Well, obviously not, and this isn’t a job. You get paid to be here.” Yes, but what I don’t get paid for are the hours I spend fretting over all 29 of you. You will never know the tears I have shed, the sleepless nights I have spent worrying about you: I dread to think what parents feel like.
As you approach the end of your secondary school career, I feel a tinge of sadness. When you scowled at me or called me a bitch because I nagged you about homework, it hurt my feelings and yes, sometimes I did cry, but only through frustration. “Can’t you see I am trying to help you!” I would scream inside my head.
But it wasn’t all bad: that time you asked if I was OK; that day you said “Thanks, Miss”; and when we danced around the classroom on the last day of term – these are the memories I will treasure. For five years we have shared this room, revelled in successes and pondered mistakes and disappointment. My last hope is that the next time you are running late, you think, “Miss would be pissed off, I better get a wriggle on!”