How do I tell my favourite pupil that I'm retiring?

DEAR DEIDRE: I DON’T know how to tell my favourite pupil I’m retiring in the autumn.

I’m 62. This boy, who’s 13, has autism and anxiety.

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He’s very clever and I’ve worked closely with him as his special needs support since he came to our school at the age of 11.

I’ve managed to help him with his speech. Some things he finds frustrating and will try to hurt himself but I always manage to calm him down.

His mum is great and picks up the phone to me when the going gets tough.

It might seem unprofessional to some but this is an exceptional job where you need to work closely with parents.

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I’m not sure how this boy will cope without me. My replacement doesn’t seem as invested with the pupils and there doesn’t appear to be much rapport with this boy.

He refers to me as his “school mum”, which is music to my ears.

How best should I break the news to him?

DEIDRE SAYS: It is best to be honest.

When September comes, explain that he is about to start a new chapter in his life, in a new school year with new friends, and you are going to start one too.

Tell him what retirement is all about and ask him to help you think of things you can do in retirement.

You could put together a scrap book of all the special memories you have shared so he has something to remember you by. It could help his new assistant too.

Good luck.

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