Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Leaving the Nest

It is a year since I left full-time employment at the Lake School of English, Oxford. I remember Friday June 6th 2008 very clearly, as if it was yesterday. After more than 20 years of service my time had come to leave the nest and fly off to new horizons in search of a new life in Italy. It was a day tinged with sadness at the end of an amazing era but also a day full of excitement and anticipation at the thought of what lay ahead. The photo above was taken that morning with students and teachers.

Sweet Memories

My last day was calm. I had already packed up my files and decluttered my desk. I had spent weeks beforehand sorting out my extensive range of files all in alphabetical order according to grammar, vocabulary, idioms, phrasal verbs, slang and endless others. I had collected 100 files in 20 years, 5 a year of new materials. I finally condensed them to about 30 and felt happy that I had paved the way for newer, fresher materials. The photo shows me at the computer. Sweet memories indeed.

The Party of the Century
I was treated by the Lake School to a fabulously quintessential English afternoon champagne tea party at The Old Parsonage Hotel. It was a truly magnificent afternoon and I will never forget it for the rest of my life. In fact, the afternoon party carried on joyously into the evening and the picture below shows me being serenaded by the local jazz player!

Simply the Best
The Lake School shaped me both as a person and as a teacher. I gained much valuable experience in the ways of life. Teaching was a pleasure every day. I always looked forward to going into work by bike, through thick and thin, despite the vagraries of the weather. The Lake School staff are indeed the best in the world and I have very fond memories of everyone there. The three directors, Susan, Carmel and Lilly are without doubt the best you could ever wish for and all the lovely teachers are unequalled in this universe.

One Door Closes, Another One Opens
Why on earth did I leave such a fantastic environment, you might be thinking to yourself. Well, my dear readers, however hard it was to leave, I knew I had to leave in order to give my new future a chance. And so it came to pass that the door was kindly left open for me to return for special guest slots in the future and so far, this has worked incredibly well and I am truly lucky for this opportunity. So, I have the best of both worlds now and long may it continue! I will be back on July 6th for 4 weeks to teach on the Teachers' Refresher Courses, which I am really looking forward to.

A Musical Tribute
My abiding memory of Lake School parties is the Tina Turner song "Simply the Best". It sums up my feelings about the school perfectly.

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