Interviewer: How does it feel
to be leaving after nearly a quarter of a
Teacher Ann: Very odd! Hampton
has always been not so much a job, more a
way of life! One of the things I've really
liked about this school is the way it is so
easy to become part of it. A fair bit of my
social life has been bound up in it, too,
because so many of the staff have become not
just colleagues, but friends.
I: Is that the main reason you've
stayed here so long?
T: One of the reasons, obviously.
I suppose it comes down to the fact that I've
been happy here. Teaching in today's world
can be immensely difficult, frustrating and
stressful, but in a school like this we are
extremely privileged - we get all the good
bits! There are no real discipline problems,
and you are daily in the company of interesting
and genuinely pleasant people whose intelligence
and legal demands constantly force you to
widen your own boundaries as you try to encourage
them to widen theirs.
I: So it's been an easy ride
from the start, then?
T: No, I don't think anyone
would describe teaching as an easy ride, even
here. Everybody has moments when they feel
exhausted and overwhelmed, usually by the
ever increasing paper work! Classes can be
uncooperative, and you yourself can he uninspiring.
This happens to us all. But the pleasure of
having a class that really seems to be enjoying
learning is what makes teaching here so rewarding.
I: Would you say that you have
enjoyed teaching the younger classes more
than the older ones?
T: I like the enthusiasm of
the Lower School classes, but one of the greatest
privileges here has been to be a Sixth Form
Tutor. The tutor groups are small, and the
more relaxed and informal atmosphere gives
both students and teachers the chance to see
each other and to communicate as individual
human beings rather than categorized as teacher
I: Were there any events which
stick in your mind?
T: Yes, the fund raising! In
the beginning we had to raise for ourselves
almost every penny we spent, and we ran some
wonderful events - I particularly remember
a very successful Craft Fair. There was a
huge variety of goods on display, and it was
extremely colourful. But the main fundraiser
has got to be the Fashion Show, which we put
on about eight years ago. Now that was a show!
I: Finally, have you any regrets
about your time here?
T: Not as such, but things have
happened in the world of education that I
think are to be regretted. In a system which
is now driven by League Tables there is a
severe danger of losing sight of the real
aims of education in its broadest sense. I
regret that at University one can no longer
take a subject for the pure intellectual pleasure
of increasing one's knowledge of it. In today's,
more practical world, it often seems that
it is not understanding which counts, but
usefulness to a career. Students tend to assess
information; not according to whether it expands
their knowledge or understanding, but according
to whether it will 'come up in the exam'.