Thursday, July 22, 2004
On Monday I said good-bye to Jean. Not a final good-bye because we'll still keep in touch but the end of an era. Jean is no longer an employee in the education world, having taken early retirement a few years ago, but we go back a long way. I first met her when I went back to teaching full time when my youngest child was eighteen months old and she is now 21 so that will give you some idea. I got a job in a nursery class of a primary school and Jean was the Nursery Nurse there. I was there for 4 years and then moved on to the school I have just left and a year later, there was a job vacancy which Jean applied for and got. The rest, as they say is history. Jean retired a few years ago for health reasons but has still come in once a week to help me with art in my class. She is very artistic but, more than that, she has the gift of being able to get even the most unartistic child to produce something good. I have never known anyone else to be so good at that. She also has a wonderful rapport with children and they always looked forward to the days that she was in school.
We have never socialised much out of school although we were at one time founder members of 'The Prozac Club' which met every now and then for a meal and a moan about the world of school! But we have supported one another through difficult times - her blood pressure problems, my depression and stress and she has been a good support through some of the life-changing times I have experienced over the last three years.
Jean is a much valued friend - the sort that should be cherished because there aren't too many of them around - and if there is one thing I will miss from my previous life in teaching, it's her weekly visits on a Monday afternoon. We will keep in touch but things won't ever be quite the same again.