I am going to preface this with the following:
This is my story. It is my personal experience and not meant to give advice in any way, shape, or form.
I wish as we were wrapping up this past school year, someone would have presented me with this sign. I had no idea what was ahead, just a few days into the summer.
First, a little background. I have only taught at two schools, which is unusual in my enormous district.
At my current school I have:
- Given birth to my son (not actually at school, mind you).
- Watched him as he attended kindergarten through fifth grade there (minus second grade).
- Made countless, life-long friends.
- Taught three different grades (1-3).
- Loved countless children and watched them grown up.
- Learned a lot!
- Mourned the loss of a sweet friend and coworker's baby, Chloe.
- Mourned the loss of a wonderful coworker.
- Grew friendships with families of students.
- Received over 20 grants.
- Discovered and opened a shop on TPT.
- Learned a LOT!
- Helped pilot the Accelerated Learning Model for our district.
- Taught numerous siblings from the same families.
- Survived numerous program changes (report cards, grade books, Common Core).
- Been supported by friends and coworkers as I was lucky enough to survive breast cancer.
- Learned a LOT!
- Helped plan countless events from family nights to carnivals to parent involvement activities.
- Aged 16 years.
- Attended quite a few retirements.
- Decorated and redecorated my classroom 15 times.
- Taught in 5 different classrooms in three different great rooms.
- Attended more trainings and staff meetings than I can count.
- AND LEARNED A LOT!
I always envisioned myself having a nice little retirement celebration attended by former students and coworkers...right there...right at my little school (which actually wasn't so little anymore as we topped over 800 students last year). A little cake, a little reminiscing, and then an endless summer vacation.
Did I mention that Tough Decisions sign? Yep! Little did I know just a few days into summer break, literally as my friend and I were hashing out plans for me to work with her primary teachers to implement the ALM program in her new school, she would receive an email that would make that sign post get planted right in front of me.
TOUGH DECISIONS AHEAD
You see, turns out, she had an opening at her school...a second grade opening...implementing the ALM program...less than 10 minutes away from my current school.
It actually was a third party who was sitting there with us that suggested me taking the job.
What? Me? But I can't!
"Why not?" asked the third party.
Because...because...because... (Refer to that list above.)
When the job was offered to me I walked around with a huge knot in my stomach, didn't sleep, made lists, and cried countless tears. You see, my school...my school was as much a part of me as I was of it.
How could I leave my amazing team?
I mean, look at these ladies...they're the best!
Plus, I had a few long-time friends that were still at my school that would be so hard to leave.
(I mean who plans a vacation with a group of people that you work with the day school gets out?) That must be true friendship!
I cannot even tell you how much I labored over this decision. Even writing this post, my stomach is in knots. But I am thinking of it as therapy...hoping it will help.
All of this was compounded by the fact that the window to hire someone for either school if I should stay or go, was closing quickly.
My son, who was growing tired of listening to me labor over this decision, offered up flipping a coin. Oh, to be a 14 year old boy when decisions are so easy.
Ultimately, I decided that the excitement of the new job was too enticing to resist.
I have always wanted to leave a mark on my district in some way. I had always hoped it would be opening a new school, but as you know we don't always get to choose our paths, sometimes they are chosen for us. I often think of that when I think how this new position literally fell into my lap.
So I decided to accept.
I set upon the unimaginable (to me) task of telling my coworkers, friends, and admin.
My wonderful friend Carina sealed her fate as my life-long friend (Sorry! But you're stuck with me!) when she put all of her concerns aside and only thought of my new adventure, and said this:
I could not love that more!
I also had to take on the enormous job of packing up 27 years of teaching.
It is official...I have collected a LOT of
junk important teaching materials over the past 27 years.
Take a look.
These boxes are just the books. (Can you say hoarder!?!?!)
(I had to throw this one in, because he was so proud of his box fort!)
So now that the decision has been made, I am still awake at night. It's been a long time since I was the new kid on the block. My brain is excited, and my heart is a sad.
My brain is also full of a million questions.
Who will I sit with at lunch?
Will my new coworkers like me?
Will my new coworkers like me?
Will they put up with my crazy, hair-brained ideas?
Whose room will I walk through every.single.morning?
How will it be to have a friend as my new admin?
What are the "rules" at this new school?
Will the office staff, librarian, art teacher, volunteers, custodial staff spoil me like I'm used to?
What am I going to do when I can't check in on my previous students so easily?
What will everyone at my former school be doing every.single.minute?
Will there be a Leticia to make me laugh and have the occasional lunchtime meetings?
Will there be a Lindsey to bring me a smoothie and listen to me go on and on?
Will there be a Kristena who can rock RTI like nobody's business?
Will there be an Erica to tell us about her wild and crazy adventures?
Will there be a Liz to make everyone know that everything will be alright?
Will there be a Kristin who is so eager to learn everything and listen to me go on and on?
Will there be a Carina to lean on when it gets too tough; to help me see things from a different perspective; to make me smile and cheer me on?
Will there be a Becky, Caron, and Laura to share life-long memories with?
Will there be a Grace to solve my computer woes?
Will there...? Who will...? What will...? How will...? Why will...? Where will...?
No, I am not leaving these ladies. They know better! We will ALWAYS be friends, but what a difference it makes when you know you won't see them every day.
This is definitely not good-bye.