My mom retired after 35 years of being an elementary teacher. As she was ending her teaching career, I was beginning mine. I loved sharing teaching stories with my mom. She could relate to what I was going through, and on those really tough days and weeks, I always felt better after talking with my mom.
Unfortunately, a few years after my mom retired, she passed away. I expected holidays and birthdays to be hard without her. What caught me by surprise, though, is how much I missed her as I drove to school. And at the beginning of each new school year, waves of grief would roll in and out.
Now, I anticipate the waves, and instead of them overtaking me, I ride them out. As I drive to school each day, I welcome the childhood memories that come to mind....
We’ve spent the past year together, and while it is time for you to move on to the next grade, know that you will always be my students. I will always care about each one of you, because I have loved being your teacher.
I have loved seeing your smiling faces each day. I have loved listening to the stories you tell me. I have loved laughing with you. I have loved helping you. I have loved seeing your confidence grow. I have loved teaching you. What I love most about our classroom is that I have been able to share it with you.
At the end of every school year, I like to give my students a gift. Over the past 14 years, I’ve given lots of different gifts, such as books, candy, bubbles, and sunglasses. Last year, though, instead of spending lots of money, I spent my time writing tootle notes to each of my students. I was surprised to see how much they loved this gift. It was a simple piece of paper, but it meant a lot to them.
This year, I wanted to do something different, but I also wanted it to be meaningful.
Over the past 2 years, blogging has become a part of my life. As a blogger, you put your words out there, not knowing who will read them. This part is a little scary. And most of the time, you have no idea how your words impact someone, but you continue to write. You trust that the words you have been given are meant to be shared with others for a reason. This is the life of a blogger.
Once in awhile, someone might share with you how your words have helped or encouraged them. These moments are gifts….little reminders that your words are making a difference. It’s because of these moments that I continue to write.
One of the things I love most about teaching is that every year is a fresh start. While I still think about my former students, I look forward to starting over each year with a new group.
A new group of students brings with them a new mix of personalities, strengths, and challenges. Because of this, every year is different. Every day is different.
You may teach in the same room from one year to the next, but your classroom is never the same. The people inside the space change the space.
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.