|21 Sep 2023
Much as I have loved my years at LEH, and loved knowing so many of you, staff and pupils, I was adamant that I was not going to write anything like this when I finally decided to close my mark-book for the final time. After all, who really cares that I started my teaching career in a Sixth Form College in Norfolk at the ripe old age of 21? Is anyone really interested to learn that I then spent six happy years in a GPDST school in Streatham? However, I cannot just walk away without responding in a small way to all the lovely messages I have received.
Some of you may recall that I joined LEH in 1989, and that will make you feel very old. I am forever grateful to the legendary Miss Candy and the equally legendary Mrs Crooks for employing me, although I was less grateful when I realised that I had to step far out of my comfort zone to teach A Level Theatre Studies as well as English. We had fun in those days, dashing between LEH and Hampton for joint lessons; producing some wonderful school plays; performing ridiculous skits as a department. Who could forget the 24 hour drama event, featuring "Hazel Pulls It Off"? I was Hazel's mother.
I returned from my second, very short maternity leave to discover that I had been appointed Head of General Studies in my absence, despite the fact that I had not applied for it. I know how some of you felt about GS, staff and students, so all I can do is apologise, although I enjoyed the variety.
I make no apologies, however, for coercing many of you into the Drama Competition/Festival. I have missed that chaos since I relinquished it a couple of years ago. I hope you all have fond memories of it, as I do.
More recently I was Head of Holles, having been part of the original team that set up the House system. I miss the fun associated with that too.
Having read and greatly appreciated your many kind comments after my retirement was announced, I feel I should now pursue a career in stand-up comedy. I had no idea I was so funny but I am glad that I amused you. My hope is that I also encouraged a love of literature in at least some of you.
So what next? Well, I have gone from one pack of unruly individuals to another as I spend most of the week volunteering at hershamhounds.org.uk, a charity that strives to home retired greyhounds. I feel no shame in giving the organisation a plug and I urge you to consider homing one of our gentle souls if you are thinking of getting a dog.
To all my former pupils I should like to say thank you, you enriched my life. I hope your careers will be as long and fulfilling as mine has been.
Caroline Richardson (Bristow)