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Retirement day!

Well, since it is a pretty momentous day for me, I might as well record the fact that today was my last day of teaching French.

After graduating from Reading with a degree in French and Linguistics and doing a PGCE at the West London Institute, I began teaching at Tiffin School in Kingston-upon-Thames. After four years I moved on to Hampton School, an independent school for boys which had formerly been a grammar school. During my time at Hampton I did an MA at the Institute of Education, for which I wrote a dissertation on second language learning and acquisition, with a particular focus on the work of Stephen Krashen, who still holds considerable influence. I have always had a particular interest in second language learning theory and methodology.

After four years at Hampton teaching French and a little German I moved to Ripon Grammar School to be a Head of Department. At that stage my only future career plan was to possibly move into teacher education at some point, but opportunties in that field became rare, and, in any case, I continued to enjoy teaching above all else. Being a HoD also provided opportunities to mentor other teachers, either younger colleagues or PGCE students doing their placements with us at Ripon. Above all else I have always found the classroom a stimulating, challenging and enjoyable place to be. So I stayed at Ripon from 1988 to this day, supplementing my teaching with cricket and rugby coaching for a while, all the while running trips to France and a long-running exchange which, I am pleased to say, is going to continue.

I have always been extremely lucky to work alongside very talented colleagues, both in my departement and in others. Ripon GS is an excellent school which recently got the Ofsted "outstanding". In some ways conditions for teachers have improved. There is less cover and less admin to do, but performance management, targets and accountability have added other pressures. Overall the job has got harder as greater pressure is placed upon you to achieve the best results and as the expectation to produce enjoyable lessons has grown. We have always had to teach too many lessons for them all to be excellent.

So now it's a bit of a relief to shed some responsibility and focus on other areas of life. I shall have more time to keep refining and building up the site, which I began in 2002, after learning to do some simple HTML language. So look out for a relative frenzy of new resources in the months to come!


  1. Congratulations! I hope you will enjoy a bit of a breather, and some time for yourself!

    Tammy @ Teaching FSL


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