I have to confess I have been looking forward to writing this chapter, the people who I will be writing about are very special to me as you will see as you read on in future chapters. Ok let's get started.
I came very close to having a nervous breakdown. I did not want to go out of the house, I could not face anyone. I had let me beautiful daughter down. I had messed up with Anglia Television. The governors of Leon School had given me three months paid leave and given a contract to a former deputy headmaster to cover my classes and internally appointed a head of year to look after my students. I was going to have to face that mess ! What would Leon School Headmaster Bruce Abbott have to say ? What a mess. What a terrible mess I had made.
On Day Three I emerged from my hideaway and went to the school. Headmaster Abbott welcomed me with open arms. My classes were made up of good teenagers, I was not by a long way the best teacher the profession had ever known but we had fun. Nobody ever misbehaved in my classes, I am not sure all worked as hard as they could but we had fun. Under the school's former deputy head my classes had turned into riots ! As deputy head my colleague was strict and respected, highly respected by pupils and colleagues alike. Now every class was a riot. Why ? He resigned there and then, he forfeited the three months salary he was entitled to. He left.
“I don't know what you do with your year group ! I don't want them ! Have them back and good luck !” The member of staff washed his hands of my students.
So I was back.
The three hundred or so of my students gathered in the hall for assembly. I left my office, walked into the hall and made my way to the front. I could hear whispers: What's he doing here ? Why's he back ? Addressing the assembly I explained. My students immediately threw their arms of love around me.
Life for me at Leon School returned to normal, the love and strength of my students lifted me up and took away any and every thought of a nervous breakdown.
That assembly happened in 1990. I am now writing these words in May 2020, thirty years later. I was head of year at Leon School for eighteen years. I am proud of my students, I call them my LEONITES. Not a single day goes by without a Leonite showing my family love. Many have joined our incredible National Health Service. Many knew Beck and her smile. So many Leonites are in 2020 spreading her smile to make people happy, 2020 and the years beyond.
I loved my students and in that assembly when I was at the lowest point in my life they loved me back.