Goodbye Year 13s

Farewell Year 13.  I’ve been so busy of late I think I may have missed you growing up.

The realisation came to me as I watched your ‘leaver’s assembly’ last week.  You put it together with such style, panache, good humour and grace that it dawned on me that at some point over the last few months (or even years) you turned from children into adults right in front of my eyes.  And I hadn’t even noticed.

How very ‘unmindful’ of me.

Please forgive me.  Please forgive the teaching profession in general.  You see you may not believe it but we became teachers because we want the best for you.  And the best for the other year groups we teach too.

Back of lady's head with the words 'good luck in life'

And yet somehow over the last few years, ‘the best’, due to other people’s agendas and external pressures, has narrowed so much that it often feels like this simply translates to GETTING A HIGH GRADE in the subject that we specifically teach you.  The over-riding purpose of our day now seems to be to prep you for one day where you ‘show off’ your knowledge, understanding and literacy skills to someone you and I will never meet.  According to today’s UK education system, that person will decide if you and I succeeded or not.

Yet today I began to be more observant again.  I woke up when I was watching your colourful, vibrant and energetic assembly.  I was reminded why I became a teacher all those years ago.  Yes, I love sharing my passion for my subject, but really, it’s more than that.  I became a teacher to help young people develop skills and personal characteristics to stand them in good stead in adulthood.  I didn’t come into teaching to focus so narrowly on one particular day in someone’s life.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that day of your exam is important.  But because all of our reputations seem to be hinged on this date these days, the importance of it has begun to dominate and stifle school life.

Watching you today reminded me that your teenage years are about so much more than just exams.  The teenage years are about friendships, first loves, your social life.  It’s good to be reminded that exams merely fit in around all of these other things.

So good luck in your exams Year 13, but more importantly good luck in life.  At times I may have behaved as if your History A Level grade is the only thing that I care about.  But in reality I care about much more than that.

Take care.

Mrs S.

Two Tiny Hands
Mummy in a Tutu
The Mum Reviews

Lucy At Home


  1. May 17, 2017 / 7:04 am

    I hope your students read this, it’s clearly from the heart

  2. Clare
    May 17, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    Beautiful beautiful beautiful. You have expressed so eloquently what I am feeling. My year 13s are leaving tomorrow. I will think of this and may shed a tear or two xxx

  3. May 18, 2017 / 11:51 am

    Oh this is so so beautiful! As a mum of a year 13 this really resonated. Loved this sentence “The teenage years are about friendships, first loves, your social life.” So wonderful that you see this! Loved the entire post, though, and just so lovely to read that you’re reminded of why you fell in love with teaching xx #ablogginiggoodtime

  4. aliduke79hotmailcom
    May 18, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    I love how much you care about your students, they are lucky to have such a great teacher.

  5. alisonlonghurst
    May 18, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    I’ve shared this on my local mums Facebook page. It is absolutely spot on. I have two daughters doing GCSE’s and A levels now. I love what you have written and wholeheartedly agree. Alison (MadHouseMum)

    • May 22, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      Ah that’s so kind of you to share it Alison. I think we are all so guilty (parents and teachers) of forgetting the bigger picture sometimes. Good luck to your two in the midst of exams xx

  6. May 19, 2017 / 12:12 pm

    This is so beautifully written it brought tears to my eyes. You are obviously a wonderful teacher! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  7. May 19, 2017 / 7:06 pm

    My eldest is in Year 13 and the chat at home is all about leaving but it is so wonderful to read a post from the teacher’s perspective. What an achievement to send off these students that you have taught for so many years as children into the world as adults. A big heartfelt thank you. Wonderful post. #familyfun would love you to link with our TweensTeensBeyond linky next week. x

  8. May 19, 2017 / 10:20 pm

    Oh this is a beautiful post I really loved it. I hope your year 13s read it? It so brilliantly captures teenage years and some of the problems with education system. Such a well written and article post thank you for sharing at #familyfun

    • May 21, 2017 / 9:39 pm

      Thanks so much Sarah – that’s so kind of you to say. They don’t know I blog (and I generally quite like it like that!) So no they won’t read it which I suppose is is a shame. xx

  9. May 20, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    Now I was sure I had commented on this post! I absolutely love this as a fellow teacher and a mum. You are quite obviously a wonderful teacher. It is so sad that wonderful teachers like you re feeling under pressure and that things that are amazingly important, those skills we need for life, are being squeezed out of education.

  10. May 20, 2017 / 4:36 pm

    Beautifully written! Our education system is something that I think about quite often these days when I’m contemplating what kind of education I’d like Lilly to have. The importance of grades and the pressure to teach children in a way that gives them the skills to write exams rather than to ‘really learn’ is often top of my mind. Thank you for the reminder that, despite the system, teachers are, of course, still human and there is so much more to teaching than the academics. I love that you included ‘skills and personal characteristics’ in your list too xxx

  11. May 22, 2017 / 9:16 am

    I love this so much. It’s not all about grades, it’s about growing and being inspired and becoming a productive citizen who thinks about the large picture- not just a grade on a paper. #EatSleepBlogRT

  12. Lucy At Home
    May 22, 2017 / 6:46 pm

    Oh this is lovely! It can be so hard to keep the perspective (speaking as a student AND as a teacher) when those exams are looming. But I think it’s important that, somehow, room is made in the curriculum to teach kids that academic achievement is not everything. #blogcrush

  13. May 23, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    #EatSleepBlogRT absolutely, with you on this one – but don’t feel guilty, the hum drum of life keeps us all on our toes 🙂 good bye and best wishes yr 13 x

  14. May 23, 2017 / 8:29 pm

    A lovely heart felt post – a proper tear jerker!! #familyfunlinky

  15. May 25, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    Hats off to the teachers! I don’t know how you carry on doing what you do in the face of these external agendas. I hope your students read this and understand how much you want the best for them. Not the best for The People Who Make The Rules, but the best for the students! #ablogginggoodtime

  16. May 25, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    I love this post. What a wonderful teacher you must be. I have fond memories of the teachers who actually showed an interest in us as people rather than just a statistic. Lovely post written straight from the heart xx #BlogCrush

  17. May 28, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    This is lovely … should be required reading for all the kids this age and their teachers! I’m so glad you had a wake-up moment that helped you remember your passion for your chosen profession. Thanks so much for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT. Zoe and I have decided that it’s not quite working the way we’d like at the moment, so we’re stepping back to reassess and there won’t be any linky for the foreseeable. But of course you are my blogging bud 4eva x 🙂

  18. May 5, 2018 / 7:40 am

    This is lovely. I have no doubt that you are a wonderful teacher. I had a similar conversation with two teachers as I was leaving school and it’s one that I’ll never forget. At the time I thought they were just doing their job but it’s clear now that it was more than that – they cared. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      May 8, 2018 / 9:31 pm

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment – yes there are lots of us that do care. xx

  19. May 5, 2018 / 9:05 am

    This is great! I am a firm believer that school is as much about life skills as it is about academia and results. Like you say, sometimes too much time is spent prepping for one day, and one test, that all the other skills and knowledge they have gets stifled. I’d be very happy if my childrens teachers had your outlook! x

    • onamindfulmummymission
      May 8, 2018 / 9:31 pm

      Thank you – that’s very reassuring to hear. XX

  20. May 5, 2018 / 10:47 am

    This is just so true, from a parents’ as well as teachers’ perspective. Thank you. #thesatsesh

  21. May 5, 2018 / 11:03 am

    Ahh this is lovely, hope your students see it! It’s so hard when you’re caught up in exams to remember they aren’t the be all or end all. Sometimes you need something like this to help you stop and take a breather.


    • onamindfulmummymission
      May 8, 2018 / 9:30 pm

      You are so right xx

    • onamindfulmummymission
      May 8, 2018 / 9:30 pm

      Thank you xx

  22. thesingleswan
    May 5, 2018 / 10:14 pm

    Ah year 13. It was many years ago, but I do remember it as a time of great promise and apprehension. I would have loved to have had a teacher like you. Pen x #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      May 8, 2018 / 9:29 pm

      Awww thanks Pen. xx

  23. May 7, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    This is lovely. You sound like a great teacher (and believe me I’ve worked with lots of bad ones!) I love it when teachers really care about their students- teaching is so much more than just a 9-5 job but it’s clearly also so rewarding. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      May 8, 2018 / 9:29 pm

      Thank you that’s kind of you to say xx

  24. May 8, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    #thesatsesh back again for our linky and loved revisiting this post, today I was in rehearsals for our leavers assembly on friday and this year I can hand on heart say its super funny. Not sure i agree when it goes viral on youtube :/

    • onamindfulmummymission
      May 8, 2018 / 9:28 pm

      Ha ha – we went viral one year! Search chis and sid leavers videos for some guest appearances from moi xx

  25. May 11, 2018 / 10:59 am

    This made me cry a little… yes, the teenage years and a persons youth is really about so much more than exams. Actually, I don’t think it should have to be about exams at all really. I did really well in school and thought it was super important, but it hasn’t really helped me very much in life. Many of my fellow class mates who didn’t do so well in school, have done just as well or better than I’m doing so far. It’s so sad how much emphasis is put on academic achievement, it really does break some young people down… I’m not sure how we should be doing things instead though. More teachers like you might be a good start 😉 xx

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