After years in education, with roles from Teaching Assistant to SLT, Zoe Enser is stepping away from the classroom - So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. Zoe has been instrumental in encouraging me to blog, and explore things I never thought I would do in education, so with The Bard in mind:
Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. – Twelfth Night: Act 2, scene 5
This story starts about four years ago, when I became more active on Twitter so that I could benefit a community of practice outside of my limited circles. Zoe was great in helping me look at literacy in science, and before long we would have great chats about teaching that pushed my practice forward. Now, I'm as guilty as the next man (it's normally men...) for assuming she was 'just' an English teacher; I think it is because Zoe has a real passion for her subject that causes many to think this. However, our conversations on leadership and professional development have proven that her experience on SLT is clear, even if she subconsciously plays this down. Zoe isn't one for the spotlight, or even chasing recognition. She's humble to a fault - Hell, I know she'll find this short blog a surprise to read.
In my Thriving as an ECT ResearchED talk, I refer to her Making Slow Progress blog. This was something she used when we spoke in our DnD group chat about progression and feeling like I was not keeping pace with my goals. Indeed, these were predictably wise words from someone who was part of my daily lockdown-life. The advice and support didn't just stop there, when my wife and I married during lockdown, and when our daughter arrived, Zoe was there, as part of my extended family. When times have been tough, I know that I've been able to turn to her like she's family.
It's a loss to the daily educational melee on edutwitter, and the publications he has written for that as an HMI she cannot engage publicly; there will be people that miss out on the wisdom. However, I know that anyone being inspected by her will find a fair inspector that's passionate about her subject, and education. I'm lucky that I've not only gained a friend, and an 'Auntie Zoe' to my youngest, but someone I know I can confide in as I mature in my teaching career; who will, as she does on Twitter, get me to see the bigger picture and make sure I always consider "context is key" to every decision and judgement I make on my own teaching journey.
I'm sure this isn't the last we will see of Zoe, until then, I'll just 'bang the rocks together'.