Just like every other international school, each year we are faced with the departure of colleagues who have decided to pursue their teaching adventure elsewhere. You’d think we would be used to it by now, but saying goodbye is always hard. Every year, I find myself wishing that the whole team would just stay put. But every year, in the month of March, I find myself in a schizophrenic position – using every available argument to convince excellent teachers to join us in Taipei to order to replace the ones that I really don’t want to see leave, but who are leaving nonetheless.
This year, was a little bit different. Two of our leavers told us long in advance of their intention to leave. So we’ve almost had enough time to get used to it. Moreover, they are both leaving for ‘good’ reasons, which makes it a less bitter pill to swallow: Caroline Ambrosioni (who we managed to cling on to for an extra year, after she initially announced her departure last winter) is expecting a new addition to her family. While Marie Gendrot and her partner Germain Priour will still be working with us for some of next year, which we are delighted about!
Everything seemed to be going pretty well as far as recruitment was concerned, so I allowed myself a moment of rest last Sunday, in the midst of the rain and the madness that this month of March has brought. With a plate of banana pancakes and the Guardian before me, I contemplated for a moment the idyllic scenario of starting the next school year with my current teaching team intact, except for Caroline of course. It was a moment that didn’t last very long. Just as I started to read my favourite column, I got a phone call that brought me crashing back to reality: Emmanuel Rey and Nora Simon have decided they are going to leave in July.
To be honest with you, they had given me plenty of notice that there was a possibility they would leave. All of their colleagues and students knew it could happen too, but everyone secretly hoped that all of their applications would be rejected and we could get to keep them for another little while. The problem is, they are excellent teachers, and excellent teachers always get excellent offers!
So I was feeling a bit glum last Sunday, but not defeated. The strength of the French Section today is that we have a great reputation and when we announce job vacancies we get plenty of applications. Therefore, finding replacements for Emmanuel and Nora’s positions hasn’t been an impossible task, even though they have done their utmost over the last two years to render themselves irreplaceable and even though we’re going to miss them, just like we are going to miss Caroline. The only thing we can do now – students in particular I am talking to you – is to enjoy every second you spend in their company until the end of the year.
The thing that I am proudest of as a head, is to be able to recruit high quality teachers for our students. Back-to-school 2019 will be no different – the new additions will fit right in. Which is just as well because I have a feeling that you wouldn’t forgive if I decided to be less demanding in my recruitment next year of all years…