End of Term Sadness and a Textually Dynamic Cake

And so it has been said

All good things must come to an end.


For so many students this week marks is the end of high school and the beginning of the rest of their lives. While I finished high school many years ago, this is a little bit of a special time for me as I farewell my own two amazing Year Twelve classes. And when I say ‘special’ I mean it in both ways:

1. It’s wonderful to be part of such an important moment in the lives of these extraordinary young men and to have seen them grow and develop over the past year

2. I turn a bit ‘special’ as I totally forget everything I want to tell them about how proud I am of them and how I have absolutely no doubt that they will do amazing things. Instead I just demand more practice essays. Sorry!

Before I unload all my sookiness, have a look at these cute bunnies!

As a fairly new teacher, seeing a Year Twelve class go through to finish the HSC is much more emotional than I expected and I really didn’t realise just how attached I had become to my classes. I think that this has been heightened by the fact that this is my first year teaching boys and first year at this particular school so my classes have been integral for helping me find my feet and settle in. I often found myself relying on my older students to teach me the culture of the school and help me figure out exactly what I should be doing!

The last few weeks of school are always a bit of a whirlwind and because of various timetable changes I never got to have a proper ‘last’ lesson with my Advanced class . To tell you the truth, I feel like Spencer Tracy in the last scenes of Father of the Bride. Remember the part where his daughter is all married and busy at the reception? And he isn’t able to really talk to her and tell her how proud he is of her because there are so many people around and so much going on? And then she leaves with her husband for her honeymoon and he is sad that he never got to see her off properly? Yes im a sap, yes im a sucker, yes I feel that way about this class. I am just so proud to see the wonderful, intelligent young men that they have grown up to be. Words fail me (and the irony of me being an English Teacher is not lost here!)

I was lucky to have a farewell lesson for my Extension class, and here enters the baking part of this post. The students found out about my blog midway through the year and since then I had promised to bake a cake for our final lesson. However, as these students are particularly great, it was necessary to up the ante. Thus, The Bake Off was born. The theme was ‘Textual Dynamics’ (which was the elective that the boys studied this year and roughly concerns looking at film and literature that challenges societies values regarding authorship, text construction, gender, history etc… and does so in a particularly ground breaking or creative way). I have to admit that I was particularly nerdy and planned my idea weeks in advance. What eventuated was…

Textually Dynamic?

One of the texts studied this year was a novel by Italo Calvino called If On a Winter’s Night A Traveller. A highly unconventional novel, the opening of this book goes a little something like this:

“You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, ‘If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller’. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade.”

I wanted the cake to look like the magnetic poetry kits that you can get to go on your fridge and re-write the opening to be more baking appropriate. I used the Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cake and filled it with musk buttercream.

Tah dah!

I really didn’t have any expectation that anyone else would bake but was happily surprised to have THREE other entries!

Jack and Nathan’s take on the Salvador Dali melting clocks

(perhaps otherwise titled “The Sponge Cake That Wasn’t”?)

And Dan and Pat’s amazing brownies. I really had no idea that these boys had such hidden talents in the baking arena!

To my Extension boys, you have been such a source of energy and creativity this year. It has often been a relief to see you all after some particularly crazy junior classes, particularly in the afternoon! The intellectual depth to our discussions has really blown me away and it has just been such a privilege to have been able to teach such insightful and generally amazing students.

This has been a rather text heavy post, so if you made it this far though im very impressed! I really just wanted to say thank you to all my Year Twelve students and tell you all just how proud I am of you and how honoured I am to have been able to teach you this year. Good luck in your final exams!

By Katie

What can I say? I love sweets, in all shapes and sizes! You only live once, so why not indulge once in a while? Or, in my case, most of the time...


  1. yay 😀 so lovely! Thank you so much for all your help throughout the year!! Hope you enjoyed you time spent at ‘the school’…and its true your facebook profile is invisible 🙁 haha xx

  2. Oh my god, that cake was just… in the words of Kahlil Gibran: “beauty is not a need but an ecstasy”

    Think you could put up the recipe? Or is it secret? ;p

    Thanks for everything you gave in your time at the school, it was great fun!

  3. Pat, I have just updated the post to include a link to the recipe for the cake. Jack, would I lie to you? It has been such great fun teaching you both!

  4. It seems to me that through my life the people I remember most are those who taught me. My parents, of course, my Aunty Beryl, my closest friends, people that have hurt me, but importantly just a few of the cast of teachers who moved in and out of my life for 14 years. Two really, Mrs Tristram from years 5&6, because she actualy seems to like me, and Mrs Murray who taught English years 11&12, who cared about my welfare and took time with painful me and my painful friends. You have a great aura, always have had. ‘Gnothe seauthon. Know yourself. The watchword of Apollo’. A quote from Goodbye Mr Chips

  5. I love reading posts like this, where you share a bit about your life and readers get to know you a bit more. This was fascinating and lovely to read. It’s clear to me that someone who feels the way you do about teaching and her students is bound to be one of those teachers that the boys will remember for the rest of their lives. I think you’re one of the lucky people who has a truly enjoyable, satisfying job. Well done 🙂

  6. Thank you for the lovely comment Kiki. I know im only very new to the profession but I do feel so lucky to have found a job that I truly love. You can be having the worst day but go into the classroom and the students just turn it all around. I hope this never wears off!

    Rhonda, it is true that teachers can have the most profound effect on us. I still remember my beautiful Yr 3 teacher Miss R who taught us little ones about Ancient Greece and Ted Hughes. She taught me that no one is ever too young to appreciate things that are truly beautiful. I love the Mr Chips quote (and both movies!) Thank you for your incredibly thoughtful and sincere comment xo

  7. Yummo, I can’t believe that Jack and Nathan didn’t come and show off their master piece before handing it over. Very impressive work guys. Beautiful work Katie, what a great way to show someone you care.

  8. Hi Ben, I suggest you put those close reading skills that you developed this year into practice and go back and read the post. You will find your answer there. I hope your exams went well!

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