AN END-OF-YEAR party was renamed Joyce’s Jamboree in honour of the teacher who has given most of her life to a village school.
Joyce Whitehead will retire as assistant head and Year 2 teacher at Kaye’s First and Nursery School in Clayton West at the end of this year.
Joyce, 58, has spent 35 years at the school on Holmfield.
Past pupils joined current pupils and staff to pay tribute to her at the party.
She said: “I feel incredibly lucky to have had a working life that has been so fulfilling.
“I’ve always believed that every child has real potential and it’s the job of a good teacher to give a child confidence and belief in their strengths.
“I didn’t consciously decide to stay at Kaye’s for 35 years, but everyone here shares the same values, so I never felt the urge to leave.”
Head teacher Lesley Butcher said Joyce would be sorely missed.
She said: “Working with Joyce has been a real education. Apart from the wealth of experience that 35 years’ service brings Joyce represents everything that a good teacher should be.
“Every day she comes to work she’s as enthusiastic and energetic as the day before and that’s contagious for the children and everyone at the school.”
Joyce, a mother-of-two, said she would be spending her retirement with husband Paul, 59, travelling, playing tennis and gardening.
She will return to Kaye’s for one day a week next year.
She said: “I don’t think anyone who doesn’t work in schools can appreciate the emotional strain that goes with being a teacher.
“As well as the paperwork, when you come into the classroom in the morning, whatever else is going on, you have to be upbeat and on the ball. It’s like you’re on the stage.
“I’m looking forward to some time to myself.”