Getting My Classroom Ready: On the Other Side

It is done.

Last August as I set up my classroom, I knew that I wanted to remember this year, my last, and so I began writing this blog. The first article was about the ritual of setting up the classroom and making plans for the beginning of classes. Now, in June, I sit at my desk in an empty room to write this farewell; I have sorted through all the books, posters, files, boxes, cupboards and drawers and have packed everything away neatly. It is done.

The last few days have been hectic, with a flurry of recognition and celebrations, and some lovely surprises. It will take me awhile to sort through these events and I know I’m not ready to write about all of them. I am deeply appreciative of all the conversations I’ve shared and the people I am leaving behind. I will miss the lunches in Sarah’s room, the chats with Leanne in the hallway, and the routine of my early morning greeting to Dale when I retrieve my mail from the office and get my coffee from the cafeteria. I’ll miss all the friends I have made along the way.

I will miss the students, too – even the ones who couldn’t manage to sit still for longer than one minute and who perpetually lost all their important project work just before it was time to turn it in. I will miss those clowns who made me laugh in spite of the fact they were disrupting my lessons with their antics.

Student farewells I will cherish!

I will miss the excitement of getting a new idea to bring to class, a new way to make a project or a unit better, a new way to teach a concept. I will even miss having to get up early and go to work on the days when it was a struggle to wake up and get started.

I planned to sit in my classroom this one last time, alone, and be sad, and maybe cry at the ending of this amazing career I never expected to have. But as I sit here, looking around at the chairs piled up and the walls barren, it’s not as sad as I anticipated. I’m ready to leave this place; it was my choice to do this, and I’m good with that. The energy in this room is no longer mine, for I have taken it and packed it into boxes and brought it home.

That’s not to say that leaving won’t be hard; I still have to turn in my keys and walk out the doors for the last time. But this sadness is good and right, and the most meaningful experiences are always hard. My time here has been rich and rewarding.

A.A. Milne must have had me in mind when he wrote, “How lucky I am that it is hard to say goodbye.”


About harleywoman50

I retired from teaching in June 2011, and now am enjoying the good things I never had time to do before: traveling, writing, and creative arts. I also work as an educational consultant specializing in professional development for teachers; in this capacity I teach educators about their personalities using the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Instrument). I teach a course on how to differentiate instruction using type in the classroom, and several other workshops. Life is good.
This entry was posted in Celebrations, Retirement, school year calendar. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Getting My Classroom Ready: On the Other Side

  1. Fritz says:

    Be careful of those packed boxes! I have one in the attic with all the lessons from over fifty years ago – ninth grade English, just in case someone askes me to do that again. Can you imagin that happening? No Way.
    I have been thinking of actually clearing out my office, now that I will only be supervising final projects and not teaching anymore. I might even do it. There is always hope!

    So, now come to tea again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Fritz! I just told Doug last night that I am going to call you SOON so that we can have tea. It will be lovely!

  3. Banjo Steve says:

    I went through this same experience three years ago after almost 40 years of teaching (mostly) fifth grade. Like you, I was ready, for sure. I still find ways to connect with kids (puppeteer, musician, grandkids), but I am so glad that I left on my own – rather than being carried out (one way or the other 🙂 ).

    I constantly encouraged my kids to take smart risks and be open to new experiences (learning the banjo gave me a greater appreciation for how difficult learning can be – even when accompanied by passion).

    So as I finish Year Three of retirement/redirection/rewiring, I know I wouldn’t change a thing. Much good health and good journeying to you.

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