I remember childhood well; particularly school and the early stages of being a linguistic Nazi at 4, when I corrected Mrs Holiday’s spelling on the first day there. She probably muttered “twat” afterwards but she praised me at the time and made a point of telling my mum, I was a genius, after school.

Reading cemented my spelling ability and fostered an ambition to become an English teacher. I was a class clown up to O level but knuckled down at A level, when I realised I had to escape Thorne, Doncaster, for the giddy heights of Sunderland.

Studying English to degree and a PGCE in post-Sutcliffe Leeds meant that the logical step was to teach English.

I moved to Shaw, Oldham in 1987 and did a 9 year stretch teaching English at Crompton House School, Failsworth and Harper Green in Bolton. All great times.

Moved then to Stoke, as you did back then, to become Head of English at The Mitchell High School in Bucknall and James Brindley in Chell.

By now, reading Of Mice and Men daily was becoming a fucking chore, but DVDs gave me a new lease of life and we moved back to Crowle, Scunthorpe, to be near family and the teaching journey continued at Thomas Sumpter, North Axholme and Danum.

Norfolk called then, with some good and bad times.

What I will say though is that it was generally 27 years well spent.

Made many great friends amongst students and staff – many of whom still keep in touch 33 years later!

Okay the years from 2012 to 2015 skewed my perspective, but, with hindsight, those colluding, malicious people did me a favour.

I do think you have a shelf life in a job as stressful as teaching and to be honest, mine was probably showing a date around 1999. I hung on as I was good at teaching, it provided a stable income and I largely enjoyed it.

4th April 2020 is when I turn 55 and the teacher and private pension lands. I’ve no intention of teaching ever again. I effectively retired at the age of 50, with depression, anxiety and alcohol dependency.

That’s all gone now.

I much prefer web design, social media marketing and copywriting, with no bosses and no alcohol.

In my shrine to Apple, no one asks “have you got a minute?” No one asks me to explain Lennie Small’s behaviour. No one tells me to “fuck off.”

This Covid 19 has temporarily put the brakes on the business, particularly with retained contracts stopping, but web design demand has accelerated.

All those people working from home, I imagine, are now eyeing up a permanent WFH arrangement.

On Saturday 4th April, then, raise a glass with me to retirement from teaching. That door closed some time ago in fact, but now I reopen it to pick up a reward for 27 years service, close it behind me without anger and head to the freelance heaven of doing what I love with my beautiful supportive wife, children in a lovely home.

Web design, copywriting and digital marketing: you’re my present and future, English teaching served me well, but goodbye.