Mr Watters to retire after 29 years at Priory
6 July 2023
Andy Watters has been called a ‘legend,’ ‘absolute star,’ ‘incredible,’ ‘fantastic’ and more by pupils who were lucky enough to be taught by him - before he runs off to watch more of his beloved Everton FC!
Lead Geography teacher Mr Watters, Priory’s longest serving members of staff, will leave at the end of this term after 29 years at Priory – with spells in Accrington, Heysham and Lancaster before that.
While he acknowledges teaching has changed in those decades, he is also the first to admit that basically it has stayed the same.
“The pupils have always been the centre of it all – that hasn’t changed,” said Mr Watters. “Teaching is always about being fair, having knowledge and being kind and you have got to be straight with the children.
“If you are straight with them, they will always do well and that’s the same if it was the 80s or the current day.
“New technology has obviously helped to change the way we teach but the demands remain the same – you want your child to make progress, be happy in the classroom and like your subject and that has essentially remained the same.”
He has heard some of the tributes to him from past and current pupils and teachers.
The 60-year-old said: “It makes me very proud to know I have made a difference. To survive being a teacher, you have to evolve your role and I have done that.
“I have been Head of House, Head of Year, Head of Humanities. I have taught geography, geology, history and have stood in at English, Science and Maths classes.
“I am equally proud of the children who took vocational qualifications and, through that, today have become better employed than they would have been.
“I am proud of my evolution and the commitment and passion for my subjects. I am as committed today as I was all those years ago, I was still holding revision classes on Sundays for my current geography students a few weeks ago.
“I am still passionate about all the subjects I have taught, they are just taught in a different way.
“I remember you used to wheel a black and white television into the classroom and watch special school channels which were old programmes. We have progressed from that and I am proud I have evolved and adapted. That’s thanks to the many good head teachers I have been under who have set the right culture which staff and pupils buy into. They have been amazing to work under and they allow you to do your best work.
“I have had great relationships with colleagues and pupils. You build up those relationships. Some with pupils are like a piece of elastic – you must never let them snap and you must keep them going.
“I have also always had a very good family behind me who have supported me and they will keep me busy in retirement.”
Mr Watters will largely be remembered for his international and Duke of Edinburgh trips.
“I have been on 100s of trips but whether it’s Iceland or Windermere, the backdrop is always the same – it’s about giving children new experiences. You take them to places with the ‘wow’ factor and I have always enjoyed doing that.”
He has also enjoyed instilling his love of Everton Football Club into his pupils.
“My name is on my classroom door with the Everton badge! I got 100 Everton mouse mats and they were given out as prizes whether pupils wanted them or not!
“It was a massive decision to retire and I still can’t believe I am actually doing it. I need a few physical things doing – operations on both knees, my ankle, my nose so I can breath easier - and it would have required me to take a lot of time off which I have never done in my teaching career, so the time is now right.
“I will miss Priory terribly, it’s been an amazing place to work and it’s always changed for the better which is one of the many good things about Priory.”
Former members of Priory staff turned up to a special event to say goodbye to Mr Watters in his role as Priory teacher and he was presented with a special ‘geography’ cake, made by Deputy Head teacher Lisa Cowell.
Head teacher Matt Eastham said: “Andy’s work day in and day out has been life enhancing and life changing for all his pupils.
“He has provided so many different opportunities for so many young people whose life he has shaped for the better.
“He has been a wonderful teacher and colleague and a role model to pupils and colleagues over the years. He has earned his retirement.”