On June 28, 2018, I walked out of ‘my’ classroom for the last time. I haven’t been teaching for the last three years thanks to the monster, but it was still my position and my room to come back to, if I was able. No more.
I went back to pick up this clown (I know, weird.) that I used to have in my childhood bedroom. I used him to teach about perseverance and hanging on when things get difficult so it seemed appropriate to bring him home and hang him in the garden. I had forgotten that I had about ten other boxes of teaching resources that I had created and stored away, as well as various toys and games.
Besides retrieving some stationary supplies and containers that I had bought myself, I also came across a file of photos and special thank you cards I had received over the years. Before I thought to have a look at them and focus on the good, I had to let myself wallow in the sadness for awhile. I tried distracting myself with feel-good videos on Facebook, but the words and emotions had to come out.
The words won’t come
It hurts too much
This time the pain’s not physical.
The road stretches in front
Up hills and
But you’re never prepared
For the S curve.
Life changes direction
This pain is not physical.
And the ever popular
A career takes a long time to build
So many layers of learning
Acquired only through years of experience
But always growth.
Sorting through once important things
Leaving it all behind for others
Hopefully not for the garbage
This pain is not physical.
This pain is suffocating.
Heavy. As I’ve gotten older, my eyes have started doing this terrible swelling thing whenever I cry. I look like the poor kid from ‘Mask’ today. But, perspective has returned.
I can’t change the direction my life has taken, all I can do is make the most of where I’m going. I may not have had as many years as I would have liked to become the teacher I wanted to be, but I have so many wonderful memories. The feeling of knowing that you have touched young lives and started off their educational journey on a positive note, is priceless.
Eager students, brilliant colleagues, appreciative parents and the wonder and simplicity of kid art. These are the things I choose to focus on, instead of what might have been. Life only goes in one direction. I’m on a new path and I’m going to continue striving to do the best I can and be the best person I can be. In that way, nothing has changed.
The list above was part of a time capsule project in celebration of the centennial of our school. I love how many of them spoke about extra play time after recess. Kids learn through play, and they know it.
I want to end this post on a lighter note with some of the cute and often mind-blowingly wise answers they gave to the question:
“What advice would you give to future generations?”
– Follow what the teacher tells you to do. Have a really good life, be smart, grow up to be really proud about yourself.
– Don’t worry.
– I would give homeless people a home, I would make everything in the world free, I would make as much water as there could be, and I would make sure the world never ends.
– If somebody didn’t know they were being a little mean, I would like to tell them not to be mean.
– Take care of yourself.
– To be a good learner.
– That recess is an hour long and the time to eat their lunch is longer so they don’t have to rush, and that they get lots of playtime. Pets in the school, a bunch of flowers for the field and lollipops for life.
– Keep safe. Grow more trees.
– If they didn’t know how to fly a kite I would teach them.
– Don’t play with matches.
– Go west, that’s the best way to go. (🤣 Boy, I loved that kid! You can just imagine…)
– Know how to play video games.
– Give them advice on how to be a good spy.
– Listen to their teacher and love their family.
– Have fun and learn lots.
– Work hard.
– Love is the most important thing.
I’d say they pretty much have it covered. 😊
On a final note, I am so grateful for the support I have received from people in my personal life as well as many unmet fellow Spoonies in this new chapter. There is an awful lot of ugliness in the world and unfortunately that is often the focus in the news. There is also a lot of love, empathy and compassion flowing quietly underneath. Thank you so much to the kind souls who have reached out in support and understanding, it helps so much. Love is, truly, the most important thing.
Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!