With the threat of the pandemic, some underlying risks, and worry about the ability to teach well in the year ahead, I decided that it was time to retire from teaching after 34 years.
Several parents have reached out to ask me if I would be willing to tutor their children or pods of families. I was honored by their requests, but said no since I'll spend the next year caring for my extended family and catching up on some long overdue goals and tasks.
Today is my final big teaching task which is to clean up the classroom. I did a good job in the spring organizing and cleaning, and today I'll put the finishing touches on the classroom clean-up.
What will I do?
First, I'll get rid of a lot of paperwork that would have been useful to me, but not to the teacher that takes over.
Then, I'll retrieve a few personal items and bring those home.
After that I'll sort through the book collection--I'll leave the books that are in good shape, take home a few valued personal books, and recycle old books that children have shown no interest in or that are torn and dirty.
I'll leave most of the supplies as they are--the new teacher can re-organize and decide what he or she would like to keep or not. I'll leave the picnic table I donated and a number of comfy chairs too.
The fall presents difficult decisions and situations for educators, administrators, school committees, families, and students. Everyone continues to navigate new territory--territory that's risky and somewhat frightening too. I know that the families, administrators, educators, and community members at the school that I'm leaving will continue to do a professional, thoughtful, and skilled job by students.
This is a difficult time to leave schools, but for so many reasons, it is the right choice at the right time for me. Onward.