Thanks, Robin at Your Daily Dose, for suggesting this format when my mind is too scattered to write cohesively …
Here are my final days of teaching in bullet points:
- When I mentioned in an email to my blogging pal Lenny Lee that I was facing three upcoming retirement parties in my honor and wondering how I was going to get through them, he sent me a very apt gift. Thank you, Lenny!
- I did survive the parties after all. One was hosted by a long-time friend at her home, one was organized by the school Sunshine Committee at a local banquet hall, and one was a party thrown by my students with the help of my teaching partner. The student gifts included a one-of-a-kind copy of The Eighth Day — signed by my students instead of by the author — a Wordle, and a large box of letters. When opening that box, I commented that I hoped it wasn’t going to be the present that reduced me to tears. One of my students said, “If it doesn’t, then we didn’t do a good job.” (Cue me reaching for one of Lenny’s gifts …)
- You know how it’s almost impossible to empty a house when you’re moving? There’s always one more closet … one more drawer … and it’s the “junk” ones that are the worst. The places where you threw everything you didn’t know what to do with. Well, emptying a classroom is just as hard. And no, I can’t just leave everything for the 5th grade teacher who replaces me, because our building is being “reconfigured” next year. It’s just like the Mad Hatter at the Tea Party: “Everybody change places!” All my stuff has to be boxed up and sent … somewhere.
- It is really hard to throw some of my things away. But I don’t want to take them home, and I know for a fact that nobody else wants them. The storage closet across from my classroom is FULL of things shoved in there by other retiring teachers who thought, “Somebody will want this. I’ll just leave it for them.” Well, nobody wants it. Books, folders, cartons, outdated media (like cassette tapes) … I don’t want to be one of the dumpers. So, after giving away items teachers genuinely plan to use, the rest of it is (sadly) going into the trash or recycling.
- Each year in the spring, our school librarian asks reading classes at all grade levels to research new books and nominate titles for Student Choice Selections. The librarian goes through the nominated titles and orders new books for the library based on this list. Every book gets a special sticker inside, naming it one of the Student Choice Selections. This year The Eighth Day made the list. On Friday, I got to see what the school library copies look like. Our librarian orders from a “school binding” company. They actually cut the pages out of the original book, rebinding them in a heavy duty manner. The books get a sturdier hardback cover with the original cover images imprinted on them. Finally, dust jackets are laminated. (And sent as flat sheets to be assembled by the school librarian.) Unfortunately, The Eighth Day arrived too late for circulation this school year, but that’s because they were back-ordered. Our librarian says this is a good sign that they were in high demand! Yay! They will be on the shelves for students next fall.
- Finally, I can’t tell you how many people have clapped me on the back, hugged me, or high-fived me in the past few weeks and said, “Almost there! I’ll bet you can’t wait to start relaxing on Thursday, June 26th.” And I just smile. Because you know what I’ll be doing on June 26th? Lesson planning. In July, I’m contracted for a series of school workshop appearances through the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project — a summer camp for writers offered by West Chester University. (I think my workshops will be focused on Point of View … and I can’t wait to start planning them.)
- Also happening on Thursday, June 26th? My cover reveal for The Inquisitor’s Mark (pending final approval of the design, which will hopefully happen today.) Therefore, I will skip Wednesday’s usual post and see you on the other side of my teaching career — Thursday!