Going Forward

It’s good you can’t see my face. I was a bit teary walking out of school for the last time yesterday afternoon. Five of my friends went with me, some lagging behind to take this picture unbeknownst to me.

It has been a long good-bye. A year long anticipation of this moment, which actually feels more like the beginning of summer than the ending of a career. (The cheerful woman from the Employee Assistance Program told all the retirees that this would happen. “It won’t be until September that you get totally depressed,” she said.)

I know that I can come back to read to the children, to read in some classrooms or the library. But, it won’t be the same. I won’t have my own classroom, which has become a family of sorts, with a history of remembered jokes and stories. That is precisely why I cannot sub, because I couldn’t stand popping in day to day with no lasting relationship with the children.

We all know the ending of something is the beginning of something else. I’m looking forward to blogging with the zeal I felt in 2006, actually commenting on your blogs as I visit them. I’m looking forward to reading even more than I do now, and reviewing more of the books which are sent to me. I’m looking forward to attending BSF (Bible Study Fellowship International) this September, and swimming and cycling this summer; seeing my family more, seeing my friends, and not rushing into making dinner fifteen minutes before we eat it.

But for now, for today, I am absorbing the fact that I am officially retired. I will never walk into school the same way that I left it yesterday, because we can never go back. Now is the time for going forward.

38 thoughts on “Going Forward

  1. Take a breath. Take a day. Take a week. And breathe…thinking of you at this bittersweet time. Yes, who knows what’s to come and what lies ahead. However, just breathe….

    This song has spoken to me at times – maybe you’d enjoy it as well. Big hugs!

    Like

    1. I tried to respond yesterday and my computer was having none of it. But, thank you for this most wonderful song! It is just what I needed to hear, and it reminds me of my husband’s favorite verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” Blessings, Kay.

      Like

  2. Aww, this made me tear up! I know a little bit of how you’re feeling and I know that you will do just fine, in spite of your own tears. Hopefully, you can plan to do something fun (maybe escape to the lake with a canoe?) during the week that you would normally head back to the classroom. You got this, girlfriend!! Sending lots of big hugs and love your way.

    Like

    1. We have been talking about this for at least three years, ever since I put my letter of intent into district office. And now the time is come. But, as I was listening to the fourth graders sing their very last concert, I realized that this is the end for them as well. The fifth graders were an emotional wreck last Friday because elementary school is at an end for them. We are ALL at an end of something (and a beginning of something else). I feel fortunate that this particular ending for me was marked, as some of them go by unnoticed. Plus, it’s time. I like technology, but a computer is not a teacher, and that is what this job is rapidly becoming. So sad to me. Thank you, as always, for your encouragement.

      Like

  3. I have a lot of teacher friends and I’ve heard the same from them. It’s so ingrained in you. Teaching. Fall will be difficult at first but also kind of nice. No parent teacher conferences!

    Like

    1. When you count the years I’ve gone to school, as a student as well as a teacher, they are all but five years of my life. A long time! And you’re so right, teaching is ingrained in me. I hope to use some skills with others, perhaps the nursing home near our house. And of course, there are things for which I breathe a huge sigh of relief that I’ll never have to do again: conferences, report cards, 12 hours days, managing all the personalities all of the time…

      Like

  4. I was more fortunate at the tail end of my teaching career – I’ve not given up entirely, and now teach just four sessions a week, probably just two next year (d.v.) – then maybe that’ll be it. So a sort of phased retirement. So I feel for you, and can understand your mixed emotions. As others have said, just try to enjoy the positives. All that reading. Blogging.

    Like

    1. Four sessions a week sounds ideal! I like easing into, and out of, things gradually. This is a true bag of emotions, happy and sad, exciting and scary, but what of worth is not sorrowful when it’s over? I know that I’ll be sad, but there will be times when I am quite relieved, too. It will be nice to visit blogs again; I’ve really let that go to a fault. Thank you for continuing to be patient with me. 🙂

      Like

  5. pjcruisers

    Congratulations. I understand your dilemma well. I’m not a teacher but I like my job. I absolutely must leav in 3 years. In conversations with co workers I’ve come to understand it takes about 6 months to adjust to a new phase. Fortunately the Episcopal seminary offer a phenomenal EFM (education for ministry) for lay persons. Thanks for your years of teaching in public school

    Joe

    Like

    1. That’s so interesting, that it takes about six months to adjust to a new phase. Sounds about right to me. Which ought to give us enough time to find a new ministry, right? We must serve people in one way or another, I think. As for serving in a public school, it was my joy. Those dear kids (and colleagues) have enriched my life in ways beyond my ability to express. They are a part of my heart.

      Like

  6. Bittersweet. I hope it won’t be too hard in September though.
    I wish you all the best for anything that might come now. I’m sure it will be exciting and it will be lovely to see more of you on your blog and other blogs.

    Like

    1. In September, when the ads for school are up and the buses are going by, I’m anticipating a bit of a whistful attitude. I love planning my room, preparing something to put up in it (usually origami objects of some kind), and anticipating the arrival of a new class. But, as you say, it will be lovely to visit blogs again. I’ve become too removed from this whole world, and I rather miss it. Your German literature event has greatly enriched my reading life; I probably wouldn’t have read Buddenbrooks without it, and I love that novel!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I once wrote a blog post about leaving campus after a last class and not knowing if I’d ever be back, and when I sent a link to the chair of the department, he was so moved he put me on the schedule for the next few years…until he retired and someone new came in as chair and did her adjunct hiring peremptorily, by their campus email (which I didn’t use). I haven’t returned to that campus since then, but your post about leaving your school brought it all back. It’s a powerful and bittersweet moment. Good luck.

    Like

    1. “Powerful and bittersweet” indeed. How wonderful that you, like Tredynas Days above, could ease out of it to some degree. It’s amazing how many fellow bloggers are also in the education field, or were, and I am comforted by the trails such as yours forged before me. Even if we can return to campus, I suspect it’s never quite the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on completing this life cycle! I’m sure you are going to be super busy in retirement as you’ll discover new adventures. Relax and enjoy and here’s to new beginnings!

    Like

    1. I’m not super busy yet, simply enjoying swimming and cycling and reading. It is definitely going to be a new path, but I’m looking forward to discovering what that will entail. Thanks for your encouragement, Iliana.

      Like

  9. I’ve been thinking of you so much, wondering when that last day would come. Now it has, and the photo is perfect. It reminds me of the words of Paul in his letter to the Philippians: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” That kind of straining is sheer exuberance — born of a conviction that the future prepared for us never can be predicted, and that it’s often far better than we can imagine. Happy summer!

    Like

    1. As always, Linda, you have the perfect words. What a scripture! I had not put it together with this time in my life, but of course it fits exactly. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…not looking back, as Lot’s wife did, but forward as Paul reminds us we must do. The teacher part of me likes things orderly, and predictable, and even in my control. Ha! What a foolish, and ungodly, way to live. Thanks for reminding me that the future can never be predicted, but will ultimately be far better than we can ever imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been reading so much this week that my tailbone hurts! 🙂 One of my dear friends said that when that happens to her, she lays on her stomach and puts the book on the floor. Thanks for happy wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely post, Bellezza. I can only imagine the mix of emotions you must be feeling right now. Enjoy the summer, and hopefully things won’t be too hard for you once September comes around again. All that extra reading/blogging time will be a bonus. 🙂

    Like

    1. It will be a bonus, and an extreme luxury. I can hardly imagine what it will be like not to have to work, as I have gone off to a job every single day since I was 22. As most people, I’m sure, and it is such a blessing to say that this part is now finished. I have to get my rhythm back with blogging!

      Like

  11. Abby

    Hooray for you! Retired at last! I do believe that the anticipation leading up to the fateful day must be the worst part of all.I wouldn’t know, I have eight more years to wait.
    Now that that’s over, the rest of your life lies ahead like a golden treasure spread out on a velvet blanket. Which one to pick next?
    Personally, I prefer the one about not having to throw dinner together in 15 minutes. You’ll have to let us know.

    Like

    1. Abby, you will be surprised at how quickly those eight years go by. I clearly remember putting in my letter of intention three years ago, and those seem like seconds. That said, this year felt in many ways like one long good-bye. I told a colleague who had been hired the same year as I was, and was coincidentally retiring the same year as I did, that it was like pulling a Band-aid off: slow and painful. By the time it came around, I have felt more than ready. But, I may feel differently in the fall, we’ll see. (By the way, do you see the predominance of computers within the classroom? That kind of alarms me, not that I think we should be without technology of course, but a Chromebook is not a teacher.)

      Like

  12. You’ve been on my mind lately… retirement is such a bittersweet milestone. Look back with pride on your many accomplishments and embrace all the new possibilities. Congratulations and hugs, my friend.

    Like

    1. I have loved your beautiful posts from Sanibel, and the way you have recorded what seems like a tremendously joyful retirement. Both you and Lesley have been forging a trail which I look forward to embarking on. I think one of the secrets is to embrace the new, to accept change, such as Shoreacres was suggesting above. You have done marvelously at it. (And, I am thinking of YOU with the loss of your lovely dog. Such sorrow in saying good-byes.)

      Like

  13. Dear M,
    I loved this post. Congrats on such a long career in teaching – that is amazing! And I can only imagine what a terrific teacher you have been and how many kids you have influenced 🙂 As for being retired now, Wow! Congrats to your retirement – may you enjoy so many wonderful reads and experience some great adventures. I can’t even begin to imagine how you must have felt on your last day at school – bittersweet emotions, I’m sure. Try and embrace the summer and the freedom of it. Take care dear friend.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your sweet words, Nadia. So far the new adventures entail sleeping on the couch and going to the library. 😉 But, in October we will go to Japan for two weeks, and that is something I’m really looking forward to. I need to find a new place to serve others, perhaps in the nursing home near our home. I really have a heart for the children and the elderly. But, it is always a pleasure to blog with you, and I hope to be around more than I have in this farewell year at school. Xoxo

      Like

  14. myhandsacrosstime

    Congrats to you! Mine happened sometime in 2005. I think you will do just fine. Just remember that the “R” word is nothing more than a state of mind.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s