I worked for forty years, discounting one year in a shipping company office between school and college. It was split more or less evenly between social work and education. I spent 20 years helping to establish and grow a social care and housing NGO in England, and 20 years as a teacher or educational administrator – eight years in the classroom in Merseyside, and twelve at Woodstock School. mostly in planning, marketing and communications. The organisation I worked for – Adullam – is still flourishing, and now in its 40th year. I was there from 1978 – 1999. Here’s their website.
My last year at Woodstock was as director of community relations, a portmanteau office which looked after alumni relations, fundraising, marketing and communications, staff recruitment, development and retention, and strategic planning. There were two common threads: “community” – all the people who make up the adult Woodstock, from staff at the school to alumni to those out there who may one day have a connection – potential staff, parents and students. – and “advancement” – planning, consulting, listening and communicating with all our constituents to move Woodstock forward. I suppose as I reflect on my whole working life, that neatly sums it up: working with people, building community, and working with ideas and strategies, promoting change.
All of my working life was spent in the classroom. I was at Broadgreen Comprehensive School (now Broadgreen International School) in Liverpool for 20 years, as head of religious studies and continued that role when we came to Woodstock, adding in other responsibilities along the way. During my final year, as well as teaching, I was co-ordinator for grades 7 and 8, a critical period of adjustment for students entering senior school. I worked with students, staff and parents to make the transition to the high school years as smooth as possible.