Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Surprise of My Life!

"Do you guys want to go out Friday night to celebrate the end of school?" asked my best friend.

"Of course, it's tradition," was my reply.

So our friends picked us up and we headed to dinner.  This is what awaited me:

I had had absolutely no idea that my husband, family, and friends had been planning this for months.  I was totally overwhelmed by the love and affection from everyone.  It was one of the few times in my life where  I felt that my work was truly noticed, and I am humbled by the outpouring of love.

Three of my four siblings and parts of their families were able to be there, as were cousins, nieces and so many of my school family.  I was especially touched that my principal came!  We had a lovely evening, and the festivities have continued all weekend.  All of my family live out of state, some only an hour away, but several traveled many hours to come.  We had a houseful yesterday, and my two sons and my daughter-in-law are here all weekend.

And do you know what's really cool?  I have a terrific, exciting, emotional, and exhausting weekend and I DON'T HAVE TO GO WORK TOMORROW!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A New Chapter!

I am officially retired!  Twenty-three years in the classroom.  I made the decision to retire in January, but didn't share my decision with anyone except my husband for a while.  I wanted to live with it, to be sure about it.  When I realized I was sure, I announced it, and started the process of clearing out materials I would no longer need.  Once I made the decision, I felt like two tons had been lifted off me.  While I have loved my job, teaching has changed so much that it was no longer fun.  I explained to my principal that I no longer felt like a teacher.  I felt like a data collector and test proctor.  All year long, we tested, collected data, tested again, etc.  We had fall MAPS, practice Smarter Balance tests, Smarter Balance, and spring MAPS.  I lost 17 days of instruction to testing, and spent too many other instructional days teaching kids how to take a test.  That's not teaching.  But unfortunately our politicians have made decisions against the best interests of learning.    For the past few years, I've had less and less time to do the projects and units that made learning fun AND productive.  I had to use a prescribed reading curriculum that bored my kids, abandon my reading workshop, and schedule constraints cut deeply into the hands on projects I did in social studies.    Once I made the decision to retire, I cut loose and went back to using novels to teach reading.  And guess what?  All but 3 of my students exceeded their reading goals set by the testing gods, many by 10-15 points.  Don't tell me that a prescribed curriculum solves all problems.

Enough soapbox!  For my first day of retirement, I woke up at just a little bit later than the usual 4:45 am.  I slept in till 5:30.   It's now only 8:15, but I'm showered, dressed, and I've eaten a leisurely breakfast.  I've played my obligatory FB games, checked my email, and read my daily blog posts.  I've done a load of laundry and best of all!  I've thoroughly scrubbed our bathroom which has only been getting a lick and promise the past few weeks.  Although the scent of Clorox is still wafting through the bath and bedroom, I'm happy.  As long as I am feeling energetic, I will tackle a few other small projects that are begging to be done --- putting away the rest of the winter clothes that are neatly folded, but piled in the bedroom corner waiting for me to go down to the basement to get the sterilite bin they go into is the loudest project.  Other than that, I hope to sit out on my deck, knitting and listening to an audio book for an hour or so.

One goal of my retirement is to go back to posting more regularly.  We'll see!