My 30th year of teaching has arrived. I know that God holds tomorrow in His hand and I am not guaranteed another day, much less a year or years, but there is still a plan. My plan is that this will be my last year of teaching. As such, it will be full of “lasts.”
I’ve already experienced what I expect to be my last city-wide school staff gathering. As I sat with all the rest, I thought back to my early teaching days, when my dad and I were both teaching in our school system and would see each other at the meetings. He is gone now and it was a sweet memory.
Tomorrow will be my last “first day” of school. I have a countdown chalkboard on my desk. I only count teaching days, so it has sat at 180 all summer. Tomorrow I will start the countdown over again. I hope for some freebies, in the form of snow days!
Every unit I teach will be the last time. Every school break will be the last. There will be the last teaching days of August, September, October… Later in the year, I will attend my last correlate meeting, last faculty meeting, and last awards assembly. I will plan my last field day.
My school year will be filled with purging papers as well as a career’s worth of stuff. My students are going to enjoy some of this! I’ve already started a “giveaway” pile that I can use for contests or awards.
I’m purging at home as well because I plan on this being the last year in this house. Retirement means reduced income. I can’t afford my mortgage on that reduced income. We’re not sure where that new place to live will be yet, other than it will still be in the same area. The house in Maine will remain our summer/vacation home.
Finding a picture for this post was difficult. As I kept searching, I realized the words I was using were insightful, all on their own. Here are the terms I found myself searching – finish line, race, end, teach, looking back, closed, reflect, and countdown.
It’s hard to predict all the feelings that I will have this year. Just today, I ran into a student at Wal-mart. I taught him many years ago and he has his own family now. It was nice to remember that finishing my teaching career doesn’t mean the end of connections with former students. On the other side, I’ve already experienced bits of the fear that comes with change and some sadness knowing that I will miss sweet moments with the kids.
What will I do with my retirement? Stay tuned…