Teaching is only fun if the students really want to learn, is the verdict of Mr York, who is leaving Blue Coat after 22 years of teaching Maths here to go and take up an exciting new post in China.
Luckily, Blue Coat students are very keen to learn, which accounts for his lengthy stay here. He said: “It has been wonderful to meet so many special students who have continued to achieve wonderful things, and the staff and colleagues who have put their hearts and lives into a school they believed in and cherished.”
He joined Blue Coat in September 1999, along with Mr Frost and Mr Adamson, but began his career seven years earlier in a small Essex comprehensive school. He recalled: “It was very different from Blue Coat School, and I really did not enjoy it at all. This is where I learnt that teaching was only fun (for me) if pupils really want to learn.
“But from my very first day at Blue Coat I felt incredibly lucky and fitted in. People cared about me and what I was trying to achieve as a teacher. Every day I wanted to come into work, and even though some days are more challenging or more mundane, the atmosphere and kindness of students and all staff at Blue Coat School is very special.”
Because standards are so high here, Mr York says he learnt new things daily while teaching mathematics, which was very rewarding.
He believes the School’s sense of tradition and history is especially valuable and it must be continued and respected despite the changes in education. “It is very inspiring to be involved in a community that values achievement,” he said, “and is well-respected, indeed famous, for it across the world. I shall miss everything about the school and especially the students and all of the staff.
“There have been so many memories. I was especially very grateful when the school community donated hundreds of pounds for a charity (SCI) I supported. Staff cricket games at the end of the year. Going to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and St George’s Hall for school events, like speech days. The school trip to Moscow and St Petersburg. School sports days to watch the fantastic achievements of students and staff. School entrance examination days and open days.
“Each year I have always enjoyed seeing students pick up their results and head off to university and go on to do wonderful things. The wonderful school plays and musical performances have also been a pleasure to experience. And not least, the kindness of everyone!”
Mr York’s new mathematics teaching job will be in Wuxi, China, which is a huge city, both historic and industrial, located between Shanghai and Nanjing.
He explains: “I’ll be teaching Mathematics and Further Mathematics to students in Years 11, 12 and 13, at an English-speaking international school, attended by both ex-pat and Chinese students. Fortunately, I’ll not have to teach in Chinese, and I won’t have to supervise any other teachers. I am sure I’ll still have lots of my own homework, as the course is not the same as here.
“I hope still to enjoy helping students learn mathematics and helping them on their journey towards university and into their new careers. I also hope to be part of a wonderful team with the same support and kindness I experienced at Blue Coat. China has a wonderful history, and a culture that I hope I can learn about and experience. The new technology scares me most, but even dinosaurs like me can learn too!”