Rob Donovan - Author
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About Rob Donovan
  • Grammar-school educated in Dartford, Kent.
  • Scholarship to St Catherine’s, Oxford, to read History.
  • Thirty years plus at the chalk-face – the love affair with teaching the young never diminished.
  • Degrees: Four Masters and one Doctorate.
  • A creative life now as an author.
Rob Donovan - Teacher - 1971 to 2009
First, the bare statistics for this classroom teacher who made it into the ranks of middle management as a Head of Department in his second year of teaching and rose no further:
1971-76 Slough Secondary Modern History
1976-77 Manchester M.Ed. student in Curriculum Studies  
1977-84 London Comprehensive History
1984-86 Oxford Tutorial College History
1986-88 Walpole, Suffolk Home Tutoring whilst writing a novel Most subjects
1988-90 Suffolk Comprehensive Religious Studies
1990-95 Suffolk A larger Comprehensive Religious Studies
1995-2009 Suffolk An even larger Comprehensive R.S. and Philosophy
And I leave the rest to the youngsters I taught – some of their final thoughts, filtered through farewells, expressed on cards and kept by me. In 1984, on my leaving their London comprehensive:
‘Many thanks for all the time and patience you have spent, whilst teaching us …’
‘Thank you for your help in the past, which enabled me to get an A grade in O-level History …’
‘Thank you for your dedication and patience when teaching us …’
‘Hope your new job brings you as much joy as we did ...’
‘You will be missed a lot …’
‘Don’t get too lonely without us – 5X2’.
‘Hope you find what you are looking for in your travels … all the best for your future, your best pupil, Mark’.

In 1986, when working for the Oxford tutorial college:
‘I’m just writing to say thanks for all your help … I got an ‘A’ (in my history A-level). I’m now making last minute plans before I go out to Australia for a year. I intend to spend several weeks in Honolulu and New Zealand on the way there and then a month or so in the Far East on the way back – it helps having a capitalist for a father sometimes!

In 1995, on leaving their Suffolk comprehensive:
‘Thanks for your hard work and teaching us. Lots of love …’
‘Thank you for being great – good luck.’
‘I really enjoyed your lessons and we will miss you.’

From pupils in my last Suffolk comprehensive in 2009 and earlier:
‘Thank you sir for believing all our excuses for being off and for being a great form tutor’.
‘Sir, you’re a nice person, you always have something to say … you’re not like normal teachers …’
‘’Thanks for all of your help over the past 7 years – both as RE teacher and form tutor. Thanks for all your support and confidence boosting’.
‘Thanks so much for all your help and encouragement. Well done with the rap too! You’re a legend!’
‘Thank you for being the most chilled out form tutor in the history of education! Good luck with the A2 Philosophy teaching.’
‘Dr Donovan – we would like to thank you for being such an amazing form tutor, even when we got a bit out of hand you were always there and still gave us privileges. None of us could have managed these few years without you. So thank you! Good luck from 9DN.’
Of course, it wasn’t all sweetness and light. It was hard at times and I apologise to any of the thousands of youngsters I have taught for whom I wasn’t good news. Teaching is exhausting and draining. There are ways in which it atrophies the mind. But if there is one thing most of us share in common it is the fact we can recall our best and worst teachers. I did try to be one of the best. And all the while, the Authorities I worked for paid me for the privilege of teaching. Now I have a teacher’s pension too!

More About Rob Donovan
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Rob Donovan - Scholar and Academic
Rob Donovan - Teacher
Rob Donovan - Runner
Rob Donovan - Labour Party Activist
Rob Donovan - Triodos Bank Customer
Rob Donovan - The Metaphysical Side
Rob Donovan - Teacher
Rob Donovan - London Comprehensive - 1978
Rob Donovan - Teacher
Rob Donovan - Suffolk Comprehensive - c1993
Rob Donovan - Teacher
Rob Donovan - Suffolk Comprehensive - c1995