This will be a bittersweet posting for me and a complete change is in store for this blog. After eighteen years (five homeschooling and thirteen in the classroom) I will not be going “back to school”.
As a kid I loved school, especially the beginning of the year. There was the trip downtown to Sears to get a few new clothes, the excitement of meeting a new teacher and seeing friends again, the school smell that seems to be universal. When it was time for my kids to go, I loved picking out lunchboxes, buying them a few new clothes at the mall, and taking the first-day-of-school pictures in front of the house. And there was still that smell when I entered their classrooms.
When we homeschooled I enjoyed buying curriculum as well as making my own. I loved the planning and the teaching and the days when we read Little House on the Prairie. I was thrilled when I taught my youngest to read at five and saw her begin to devour books, just like her siblings.
In 1996, I took my first paid job teaching in a Christian school and then began the final leg of my education in January of 1997. Finally, in 1998, at age 39, I graduated with a BS in Elementary Education. I have been teaching in many diverse areas ever since, both in Polk County and St. Johns County, Florida. I’ve been in schools where over 50% of the students were Hispanic and whose parents could not speak English; and I’ve been in schools where some of the kids lived in million dollar homes with maids and nannies. I’ve taught gifted children as well as learning disabled, physically disabled and autistic. I’ve been praised by parents and put-down by principals, hugged by little ones and disrespected by middle schoolers. Over the years I’ve received many gifts, from hefty gift cards to a large pink rock. But the best gifts were the ones no one could see. Like the parent who told me her child had never like writing and now she had a notebook with her everywhere she went. Or the note thanking me for teaching poetry from the kid who then gave me a copy of an excellent poem he had written. Or seeing my students win awards for speeches so full of their own thoughts and ideas, delivered with excellent rhetoric.
Where do I go from here? I do not know. It is a bit of a grieving process. Earlier this summer I read these words from Psalm 6 and could definitely relate: vs.6 – I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I water my couch with my tears. vs.9 – The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.
Then I came upon chapter sixteen, vs. 11 – You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. It may be a trial or an adventure, or I may even return to teaching one day. But for now I will try to make the best use of my time and wait for what lies ahead.