My Last Post (with apologies to Browning)

Created on: 28 Sep 2022 | Last modified: 23 Feb 2023

That’s my post grad certificate hanging on the wall
Looking as if it were brand new; I call
That piece a wonder now; went to Jordanhill and
Worked busily a year, and there it stands.
Will’t please you sit and ponder it? I said
“Jordanhill” by design, for well read
Strangers like you who know the value of that document,
The depth and passion of years earnest spent
But to myself they turn (since none puts foot in
A Scottish state school without having gained one)
And seemed they would ask me, if the durst,
Was it all worth it? So, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ‘twas not
My pay check’s presence only, calls this spot
Of joy into my cheek: truth told, our ten
Percent was hard fought for and then
Despite our efforts through Covid days of
Doing our best in learning GSuite ways,
Where fairness, we thought, was cause enough
For earning our present pay rise request. STUFF!
Did they honestly think we would not mind
A heart…. how shall I say?.... too hard to find,
Too hard to impress? Covid ripped whate’re
It looked on, and its looks went everywhere!
Sir, ‘tis all one way systems, and extra cleaning;
Hand sanitizers at every turn meaning
They became as common as pencils. Those
Lunches, too, organised and eaten. Suppose
We had not done our best to keep things going,
Giving our children some sense of owning
Their own small world amongst all the chaos
And the sense this, too, would pass?
They thanked teachers – good! – but thanked
Somehow…I do not know….as if they ranked
Our presence of a one hundred and seventy five year union
With anybody’s gift! Who’d stoop to blame
This soft of trifling. Even when we have the skill
In speech – (and the EIS has)- to make our will
Quite clear to such a one and say: “Our class
Contact time is too long; our class sizes
Are much too large” and if they do not let
Themselves be lessoned so, and plainly set
Their wits to ours and just make excuse
There is a last resort. Oh, Sir, ballot use
Is not want we want. Do not make us go
There and have staff morale an all time low
And all work stop together. There it stands
And in our leaders’ capable hands and munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of pay rise will be disallowed,
Although teaching pupils is, as I avowed
At starting is our object. Notice my
Colleagues, Sir, and trust that we do not lie:
To value our children we always must
Reward our teachers, in whom they have trust.

By Irene Walker