Around this time of the year I say goodbye to a lot of sixteen-year old pupils. This blogpost is about them, and for them.
As with every time, it’s been a mixed bag of feelings for me, some good, some bad, some memorable, some forgettable, some best forgotten. I’m sure it’s been the same for you all, too.
As always, there were a lot of people in my classes who had no intention of attending but had been forced in by parents or peer pressure, and who found nothing interesting in me or my classes, and who will forget everything happily and almost instantly. To them, my apologies: I
h circumstances had been such that I hadn’t had to bore you for so long. I hope you at least do well in your examinations, so that you and your parents do not have to regret giving me so much of your time and money. A few of you, though, might look back upon these classes with different and more positive feelings a few years down the line, and then get back to me to tell me about it. Some people keep doing that every year… people who were in my classes years ago. I shall look forward to it. wis
To those who came to dislike me and are determined to speak badly about me afterwards, I have just one request: speak only the truth as you came to know the truth about me. Don’t make up stories, or spread stories passed on to you. Beyond that, you are free.
To those who did enjoy my classes, and maybe are likely to feel bad when the classes are over, I have a few more substantial things to say. Firstly, no matter what you think now, for most of you that feeling of missing something good will be very temporary. Trust me on this: I have seen it happen so often that I know you better than you do yourselves. Most memories, for most people, don’t stick: they fade fast once someone is out of sight, and no longer regularly in touch. Five years from now, most of you will hardly be able to recall why you liked coming to my classes so much…
To that very small number who will retain strong and good memories, I not only give my love and best
hes for everything you try to do in your lives, but I hope that, as time passes by, as you grow and mature and grapple more and more intimately with life, you will appreciate ever more keenly what Sir did for you, beyond ‘covering the syllabus’ for some examinations, which, as he himself kept repeating in class, do not really matter in the long run (you will find out how right he was, that’s a promise!). It is this very tiny group which, as they keep growing older, become my friends, and those friendships sometimes grow closer and warmer with the passage of years. It is them I want to reassure that Sir will always have time for them, as long as he is around. Only, don’t fall out of touch for too long: these days I honestly cannot remember pupils who have not contacted me, even over the phone or by email, for more than a year at a stretch. wis
A few of you have already let me know, in diverse ways, that I mattered to you. To them, my gratitude. Just please don’t go on to do something later on that makes me feel bitter about having been grateful once (to know just what I mean, read this and this).
P.S.: Nov. 26: A couple of ex-students, who left my class ages ago, told me this morning they had read the above, and were feeling wistful, and wondering how so many years could have flown so fast, and how they wished they had 'taken more advantage of the classes' while they were with me. So I guess some people much older than sixteen might be reading this post. I shall be glad to hear from them. If some of them have a few words of advice to give to my current crop of pupils, they are welcome to send in that sort of comment, too.