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 Books, folders, cartons, outdated media (like cassette tapes) … I don’t want to be one of the dumpers.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!
Sounds bitter-sweet. Congrats on all the accomplishments, seems you’ve left an impression just like all great teachers do. Enjoy the workshop planning – they sound terrific 🙂
I am looking forward to sitting down and planning those lessons!
Congrats on your retirement. Hope the transition will be easier since you’ll be teaching this summer. And yay! You’ll have more time for writing.
Natalie, I think the transition will be a lot easier, since I’ll still be teaching through July, one way or another!
Can’t wait to see the cover for TIM 🙂
Sounds like a lot of emotion going on, which is understandable considering everything. I say live in the moment and savor it, then you can look forward to what lies next.
Steve, Even though I don’t feel TOO emotional, I do feel exhausted, and I haven’t done any writing. I guess that’s how it manifests for me.
Congrats on your next step on the ladder of life!
Thanks! Change is good, right?
Your bullet point really reminds me of writing itself, how one section or chapter or book ending is merely the gateway to the beginning of another step in the writing process. Congrats to you.
And I’m looking forward to the cover reveal for TIM 🙂
There have been lots of cards using that pun about one chapter ending, another beginning, but it really is an apt comparison. The story is not over yet!
Congrats on the parties and the gifts, even if they made you cry. The moving part and throwing things out is hard but necessary, so you can fill the empty places with new memories and happy things!
Lexa, This morning alone, I threw out nine years of teaching … 🙁
Good thing you got the tissues!
I can’t wait to see the design for The Inquisitor’s Mark. The Eighth Day was really cool, so I have high hopes.
Jeanne, I love the cover, so I hope you will too!
That’s cool your book is one of the student’s choices!
Cassette tapes? Almost as useless as 8-tracks. Glad you didn’t add to the pile of junk, although I’m sure it was a pain to sort.
Alex, I threw out VHS tapes today. Nobody wanted them or had anything to play them on. 🙁
Congratulations on retiring from teaching. Now you can FB friend your students and stay in touch with them. For me that has been hugely rewarding.
I love that your students signed your book!
Sharon, Yes — I love my student-signed book!
And I suppose I can friend them now …
HAPPY RETIREMENT, Dianne! Your students were so lucky to have you, and the literary world is even luckier that you’ve moved on. XOXO
Thanks, Ilene! I think I am most looking forward to the freedom to attend more conferences and visit schools, etc.
I so HEART Lenny!!!
Hi Dianne .. Lenny’s a star isn’t he … and so thoughtful … I’m just delighted that all seems to be going so well and it’s lovely that you’re so appreciated and will be when you see any of them as time goes on ..
All change – and you don’t have a chair .. are they playing music, while everyone moves around .. but obviously time for a clear out …
The kids have come up with some brilliant thoughts … and this is so lovely to read .. the 26th will be a shock .. but so be it – you’ll have work to get on with for a good cause ..
Cheers and enjoy the rest of the week … Hils
How cool to be a “student’s choice” book!
I relate deeply to the packing, sorting and tossing of once cherished mementos! Congratulations on the new teaching gig. Sounds very cool and I can’t wait to read about it.
I didn’t realize you were retiring! Both my parents are retiring this year as well. My dad as a teacher, and my mom as an elementary school principal. Exciting, but bitter-sweet moment for sure. Sending hugs and wishing you all the best. And isn’t Lenny just amazing? I love that kid.
Also, I didn’t know how they got those school book bindings! That was really interesting, so thanks for sharing. 🙂 Best of luck on your workshops, I’m sure you’ll be great!
Ooh! A new cover reveal? I can’t miss that. Cleaning out must be tough, but at least you have all those memories to sift through. 🙂
I can only imagine the tears those letters will produce. I bet you’re a wonderful teacher.
Your new website design rocks. I love that you have a “Teacher” category. Smart, saavy, and who would know better than you about how to connect with teachers and readers? Must be so bittersweet…here’s to happy and adventurous times ahead.
First, thanks for the shout out. I am glad that the bullet points helped you make it through this post.
Second, I still haven’t gotten through all of the suggestions to help me delete defunct blogs without a GFC widget, so I still can’t add this blog to my reading list. But I hope I have some time for shaping up my blog soon.
Third, I read all of these posts back to back, so if I comment on something in a newer post… my apologies.
Fourth, I think the stuff that your students gave you for retiring… awesome!
Fifth, it is so hard to throw stuff away. I have gone through it too many times (each time I moved) and I know how hard it is to part with stuff, even though you will probably never need it or use it. Trashing it instead of adding it an already over-cluttered closet… good idea.
Sixth, congrats on the summer teaching/conference. I would love to listen to you talk about POV. Your attendees are very lucky to have you.