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Reflections on retirement from the Headmistress, Mrs Tobias

Reflections on retirement from the Headmistress, Mrs Tobias

"The reason I came into teaching was that I was passionate about my own subject, English, and wanted to use it to help young people negotiate their way through the world. There is no difficult or troubling matter that can’t be illuminated by studying a novel, a play or a poem.

"Think King Lear’s self-delusion as he carved up his kingdom only to see it riven by division, conflict and greed. Think Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, defending a black man against Southern prejudice, and Scout ‘walking around in another person’s shoes to see things from their point of view’. Think John Donne equating the intimate experience of waking in early morning sunshine with his lover, to the geography and scale of the entire globe, and Sylvia Plath’s poetic capture of the joy and exhaustion of pregnancy and motherhood. Being an English teacher has been wonderful.

"Becoming a Head of Department, let alone a Headteacher was never a particular plan of mine. But at each stage - Head of Department, Deputy Head and then Head – it became clear this would give me an even greater opportunity to influence the environment in which young people learn and develop. And I realised I did have a vision of the sort of place that should be: where learning and confidence are nurtured and young people take centre stage at all times, where teachers never shout and extra-curricular and enrichment activities are as important as academic.

"I have had the most wonderful and fulfilling career. I have always wanted to see young people equipped with the knowledge, skills and understanding to enjoy and succeed in everything that comes their way: to live a good life, for their own sakes and for the sake of others. And to have the resilience to cope when things don’t go so well. So, educating young women to take a passionate interest in what they learn, and to work through obstacles and difficulties, has given me immense pleasure. And there have been so many marvellous girls over the years, young women I have felt so very proud of as they go out into the world.

"But anything I have achieved professionally has been as a result of working with wonderful colleagues. I’d like to acknowledge the many, many talented teachers I have had the pleasure to know and learn from. And to thank all the support staff who ensure the school is in tip top condition and runs smoothly.

"The merger between Red Maids’ and Redland was a key moment in my professional experience. We have all been enriched by coming together and should not forget the lessons we learned. Together we found that change can be a very powerful and positive force and we shouldn’t be scared of it. We should embrace it.   

"That is one message I would like to leave with the students. To all the girls I have known and worked for in Redmaids’ High School, now and in the past. By being courageous even when you feel fearful,  by giving people the benefit of the doubt and being ready to acknowledge when you are wrong; by loving learning, being curious to find out more and discovering your own special passions,  by not always needing to fit in but being your own person, and by always trying to succeed but also being resilient when you don’t…  in all these ways you will move forward surely and steadily, evolving, growing, developing, not knowing exactly what is coming next, and being OK with that.

"And that is so exciting!

"I would like to thank the Governors who first appointed me for giving me this wonderful opportunity, and for helping me to bring about so much that has been good for the girls.

"It is almost time for me to say goodbye. I remain in post until the end of August and will be working closely with my successor over the coming months.

"I know I am leaving this very special, historic school in safe hands, and I would personally like to wish Mr Dwyer and the entire Redmaids’ High School community, every success in the future."

 

Date Posted: 03 July 2020
Senior Sixth Form

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