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Thursday, May 29, 2014

On Retiring

Lessons Learned

Looking Back, Looking Ahead


Reflection informs anticipation. The past informs the future.  Memory informs expectations.  And all of these have significant bearing on one’s perception of today. Thirty years as a teacher will in two days be boxed up and passed on to the next one who very soon will fill my classroom with new dreams, excitement, hopes, and strategies to inspire learning for all children. How does one begin to process the width, the depth, breadth, the height, the gravity, the magnitude, and the overwhelming relational experience of thirty years in the classroom? From the highest pinnacle of elation to the deepest depths of despair and every conceivable tint and shade of every hue of every emotion in between, this is the gamut of feelings regularly traversed by a teacher through the years alongside thousands and thousands of students and their families, colleagues, administrators, and school support staff, community helpers and neighbors as together life is lived and journeys are shared. It consumes you in the most excellent way for you ceaselessly and willingly pour yourself and all that you know and understand and are into making a positive difference in the lives you are given to touch. It is beyond humbling to comprehend the trust, the vulnerability and the belief parents offer you as they bring the treasures of their heart, their children, to your classroom. They bring you the best they have, having done the best they can hoping their little ones will thrive and grow and aspire and achieve under your gentle yet firm, inspiring and challenging tutelage. The responsibility of teaching is honestly staggering and the full acknowledgement of that truth is an ever-present lens through which you view and engage the everyday goings-on in the classroom.  Teaching is without a doubt, an epic job with layers and layers of life intertwined with ripples of the shared experiences rolling out for years and years to come. I have loved teaching as I love life, and despite my flaws and weaknesses I have given my best and my all to what I believe matters infinitely much; that being inspiring, encouraging, protecting, leading, caring for, and believing in the children. In reflecting on a career I have loved, I joyfully anticipate the next chapter of service to others, for all that I have learned through all who have been entrusted to my care will most assuredly lead to countless more collaborative journeys.