So it is Thursday, July 30th 2015, the day before my final day at Tti School in Camden Town, and I have been asked to write a ‘blog’ about my six years experience here. As you may have heard I enjoy writing (and speaking for that matter); but at this juncture I feel at a loss as to how I might put into words, sentences, and paragraphs a period of my life I may look back upon as the happiest.
But here goes: after travelling South America I returned to London in the summer of 2009 broke, broken-hearted, lost and adrift. As we all know one must work in this city, or drown. And so it was, completely fortuitously, that Tti responded first to the 20 or so CVs I catapulted onto the internet the day Michael Jackson died. I barely remember the interview nor recognised at the time how significant it would turn out to be.
A lot can happen in 315 weeks: the Olympics, the Conservatives, a royal wedding; I got engaged – married; moved house five times; grieved my dear grandmother; became an uncle, twice; tried to leave the school – then realised I am actually a teacher; the DELTA; three principals; three directors of studies; a new building; and so many members of staff you couldn’t fit them all in the study lounge.
But I do not wish to bore you with tales of people you may not have met. All the faces, characters, teachers, lessons, stories, crises and laughs live on in the walls and the corridors; just ask Bridie and Guy, Sian, Mike, or Melissa (the ones who have been here throughout). And in fact, I have so many memories they all blend into one. And I guess the same may be true for us all, whether you have left or not because, if you’re still reading, then this unique place of learning and life has also left an indelible mark upon you in some way.
As such, there is not much I can say which you do not already know: how welcoming, distinctive, and joyous the school is; how colourful and mad it can feel at times; and how hard everyone works with such spirit and camaraderie, the like of which is diminishing in a society driven by bureaucracy, greed and profit. Most likely you’ve consumed this positive energy and given plenty back yourself. You’ve certainly become a finer teacher, or, you’ve sat in all kinds of classes and been amused, inspired, met everyone in the world, and broadened your knowledge of the world’s lingua franca.
You’ve probably even trudged to Camden in the dark winter months wondering ‘Why?’ I have many times, and trust me, it’s even worse on a hangover. I have always been a restless person – a rolling stone gathers no moss – and with this in mind a plan formed: to leave London and see the world, for a time at least.
And I thought leaving would be a happy occasion – onto a new adventure! It certainly is exciting; but it is also clouded in melancholy because I feel as though I am leaving home again. Six years ago I entered the school a confused, wild, and agitated young man, and I leave older and more certain of my role and place in the world. Of course, this is not only down to working at the school; it is just that Tti has been the background of my life for so long I can hardly imagine a different one.
To end then, over the years I have seen many different incarnations of Tti School and, who knows, I may see more in the future. But right now I would like to say something about the so-called ‘Tti spirit’ – that while it has fluctuated with circumstance and the seasons, it is evident to me that at present the school is thriving; thriving because of the warm and generous people with whom I have been lucky enough to share this inimitable atmosphere; people and an energy I will sorely miss.