One month from today I will not set the alarm clock or pack my lunch. I won't wake up early thinking about what I will do in school today. After 45 years of teaching -- public school, Christian school, home school -- I will be officially retired. I have to turn in my iPad, clean out my desk, delete all the documents on my computer, give my goldfish away, and say goodbye to daily laughter and sharing life with my dear assistant and friend.
Although I know it is time for me to step away from assessments and teacher evaluations and observations and faculty meetings and workshops and Common Core and report cards and lesson plans -- all the parts of the profession that I DONT like -- I am having a little trouble stepping away from the actual teaching. I mean, look at these faces!
Teaching kids to read and write stories and introducing them to everything from caterpillars to clouds -- seeing their eyes open to the world around them as they learn about growing seeds and building cubes and ocean life and Pilgrims and so many other things -- well, that is just such a joy!
I'm not saying that it's all fun and games -- there are fusses and rule-breaking and saying "be quiet, keep your hands to yourself, sit down, stop tattling" about a hundred times a day. There are kids who never do homework, kids who can't remember what a 4 is, kids who pinch and choke other kids, kids with head lice and pink eye, kids who have parents in jail, kids who need love but show it in the most difficult ways. I come home so tired and drained that I can hardly get off the couch some days.
But look at this face! Priceless and worth every hard day when you can see the wonder when they
accomplish something new!
So, as I walked through Target this week, I felt a little lost. Nothing I needed to buy, with less than 20 days of school left. Don't need to buy clothes for work. I saw some cute little red polka dotted buckets that I really wanted to buy, but knew that would be crazy. And that stuffed turtle at Kohls would have been great for the Franklin stories and reptiles unit. But I won't be teaching that again.
Don't get me wrong. I am looking forward to retirement and having time and energy to clean my house and travel with my family and cook meals. I will finally empty the bookcases and closets and baskets full of teaching books and supplies that I have accumulated over the past 45 years. But I have been "Teacher" for so long -- it's who I am -- my identity -- and I don't exactly know who I will be when that is over. I am eager to find my new place in life -- time to read books just for fun, work at church, go to daytime activities, take vacations when everyone else is at school. I'm excited --and tired -- and counting the days. But I will miss my co-workers-- the lunch room ladies that fix my lunch, the custodians who clean my room, the office workers who keep everything running smoothly and intercept phone calls, the teachers who inspire me and especially the hard-working assistants who do so much to make life easier. My own assistant, Mrs. Awesome, is a treasure and the main reason I have kept teaching this long. And the kids who make me want to pull my hair out, beat my head against the wall, and cry -- and who greet me every morning with bright smiles when I walk in, and run to hug me and write love notes. Look at these faces!!