This is day two of retirement and I’m not quite sure what to think. Knowing I will be subbing for a maternity leave in the fall has helped. I’m not a weeping wreck. I’m not euphoric either, though to not have to worry on a Sunday night about ironing a shirt or making a lunch or creating a lesson plan feels pretty good right now. I wouldn’t say I’m excited either. If anything, a little sad, knowing that the students I had will not be replaced by a new sea of faces, all with their own stories and talents and quirks. That might be the best part of teaching, witnessing the unfolding of all those personalities. 

I had to clean my classroom this week. I can’t really explain why, but I left one poster up. It didn’t have any special significance. I just didn’t want to take down the very last one. I’ll leave that to someone else.

My last class baked me cupcakes and gave me a card, and when they filed out, I figured I’d sit alone and reflect for a few minutes, which is fairly common on the last day of any year. But the teacher who will replace me came to copy files, and then a student who graduated last week came in to talk. Down the hall in my office, another teacher was already moving into my empty desk. I was grateful for all the flurry, which made the last hour or so seem ordinary. 

In 31 years: 
Miles driven to and from school: 282,100. 
Days taught: 5,642. 
Hours taught: 45,136. 
Number of students taught: 3,875. 
Of those, a pleasure to have in class: 3,860. 
Papers graded: I can’t begin to guess, but it’s probably about two dozen phone books. 

One of the nicest parts of retiring is the kindness of colleagues and students. I got cards, baked goods, scrapbooks. Yesterday morning on my deck, I read the notes my students wrote to me on the last full day of school. Laughter and tears sprang easily. I am a lucky man. And most grateful. 

I feel as if this entry doesn’t match the gravity of the last week of 31 years, but for now, it’ll have to suffice. Peace, love, and understanding.

 


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