Dagenham teacher to retire after 50 years reflects on 'rewarding' career

Lesley Moore with parents including past pupils Jamie Borthwick, known for playing Jay on EastEnders

Lesley Moore with parents including past pupil Jamie Borthwick, known for playing Jay on EastEnders - Credit: Supplied

As she prepares to retire after 50 years, Dagenham teacher Lesley Moore counts herself lucky to have spent so long doing a job she loves.

"I loved the thought that I was making a difference to some children’s lives," she said.

Mrs Moore is retiring from Beam County Primary School on July 22 after five decades as a teacher in Barking and Dagenham.

The 71-year-old, who has previously been known as Mrs Reinbach and Mrs Copperthwaite down the years, began her career at Grafton Junior School in Dagenham in 1972.

She has taught at most schools across the borough, having been a supply teacher for around six years.

Lesley Moore at her retirement party at Beam County Primary School last Friday

Lesley Moore at her retirement party at Beam County Primary School last Friday - Credit: Supplied

Mrs Moore, who was born and raised in Stepney and lives in Dagenham, reflected on the joys of nurturing so many five- and six-year-old minds over the decades.

"You see the difference that you make to their lives within such a short space of time," she said.

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"It's such a rewarding job to be in and I count myself lucky that I’ve been able to be in a job where I can enjoy it, where I look forward to going.

"So many people don’t have that opportunity, but I just really love my job - and I will really, really miss it."

Having worked since age 14, including in a variety of jobs while training, Mrs Moore admits it will "seem strange" to be retired.

"I'm a bit apprehensive about it all to tell you the truth," she said.

"But my age and my health is not 100 per cent since Covid so I just feel it’s only fair that I need to step down."

Mrs Moore values the friendships she has made with parents and former pupils - some of whose own children she has since taught.

She even remains in contact with one of the pupils from her very first class at Grafton.

“I still contact her, we still meet up now and again for a meal and it’s just amazing to be able to do that," Mrs Moore added.

While she is retiring next week, the Beam County Primary community may still see Mrs Moore around - she has already offered to volunteer on school trips.

As for her retirement plans, she hopes to catch up with old friends, travel - outside of expensive school holiday periods, and spend more time with her two children and four grandchildren.