In 2020, Development Director Bryan Lewis began to write down his fondest memories of his 42 year teaching career at ESMS. Serialised as blog posts, we can follow his journey from his appointment as a Classics teacher in 1974, to his retiral as Headmaster of ESMS Junior School and Vice Principal of ESMS in June 2016.
As the last weeks of our shared annus horribilis slowly passed I began to write down some of my memories of the 42 years that I spent on the teaching staff of ESMS.
Teachers joining our schools now would be amazed to learn that in 1974 the word induction was unknown and new teachers simply turned up on the first morning and got on with it!
During the 15 years from 1974 to my appointment as Head of the Junior School in 1989 I think I organised and led between 15 and 20 overseas tours, including regular visits to Italy.
During one of my later tours to Italy, when I had left the SMC Classics Department and become Headmaster of the Junior School, I was back yet again in Pompeii, this time with a group of Primary 6 and 7 children.
One of the things that attracted me to want to teach at Stewart’s Melville was knowing that rugby, which was very important to me both as a player and a young coach in Dublin, was at that time very much the major school sport.
In 1987 I was asked if I would like to run a major school capital appeal to fund the construction of new Technology Centres on each site – I think my senior management colleagues must have thought I would be the perfect candidate given my ‘expertise’ teaching Latin verbs on the BBC computers!
Last week I highlighted the very high expectations ESMS staff have of our children. These high expectations were eventually formalised through the introduction of the nine Junior School Values.
Now that I had enlisted the help of a group of colleagues who were looking forward to deciding which values to include on our list, I decided the best way to begin was to google the word ‘values’! As a result, we started off with a selection of almost 90 values words to consider.
There is so much that I could write about major developments, about the big issues and changing educational fashions, but instead what I have decided to do is recall some memorable moments and events.
All the choirs in the schools came together, the show sold out and there was a collective gasp from the audience when the curtains opened and 500 children sang ‘Rhythm of Life’ at the start of a never to be forgotten two hour show which featured songs from the musicals, some performed by our West End guests but the majority involving various groupings of children.
The story of the Primary 6 Pentland Hills expedition which I finished with in the June Newsletter, took place on a wet and windy day and I was very impressed by how well the children coped, many of them walking for over 10 hours. As a direct result, I decided to challenge the Primary 7 children to a much longer walk, for which they could raise sponsorship money for charity.
had the pleasure of attending dozens of Junior School camps, all great fun and hard work, in locations from Aviemore to Hexham. A huge amount of work went into their organisation, and I was always very grateful to all my colleagues who worked so hard before, during and after the days we spent away from home.
I cannot remember why I thought that November 2006 was the perfect time to tell the world that our Junior School children learned to write with a fountain pen in Primary 6, and that each child owned their own pen.
As I have been sharing memories, other special moments have come to mind. Each month, I’ll add a new snippet to this post, some of which may stir your memories.