The "End" of an Era

Today was the last day of my face-to-face teaching career for an undetermined amount of time. As in, I don’t know when or if I’ll ever go back to the physical classroom. Today was weird because I never got emotional — and I am a freakishly emotional person.

Usually, I cry over everything. I cried just yesterday THINKING about the song Alex would sing for me at the Mother’s Day Tea at her school in a couple of weeks. But leaving a career I’ve had for the last 11 years? Nothin’.

It was a fabulous day. My first and second periods threw me a “culture day,” (we don’t call them parties – but you have to have been in my class to understand why); my second period gave me a sweet going-away card; my third period helped me clean my room and wouldn’t let me move anything; students wrote notes all over the board telling me they loved me; my friends graced me with a cookie cake (they know me well), flowers, and a gift card; and multiple co-workers/friends came by to give me hugs and tell me they’ll miss me. And during all of that, my students continued to do the assigned work — and on the last day of school before Spring Break! I have truly been blessed this semester.

I cleaned my room, filling buckets and boxes with items I wasn’t willing to leave for 5 weeks while the students finish out the school year.

I set up my substitute folder so that Mr. T (my sub and former teacher!) would be completely prepared for at least the first 2 weeks of my class.

I chatted with my neighbor-teacher-friend who stayed until the last minute I walked out.

And then we loaded the car and were on our way.

Aaron looked at me and said, “So, how does it feel?” My response? I just don’t know. None of it seems real. Right now, it feels like Friday night before Spring Break. It feels like I just ate too much good Mexican food (because I did) and am chilly because it’s 50 degrees outside. Right now, it feels like normal life.

But in a little over a week, I’ll see Aaron and A off for school, and I’ll stay home. My guess is that it won’t feel too strange. The 2nd day of that routine might be a little more strange. But, I’m assuming that by day three, I’ll be thinking, “Woah – I’m really not going back.”

A good friend at work today suggested that the real ODD moment will happen in August when everyone returns to work, and I don’t. I think Traci is right.

And so, I begin to say goodbye to an era and hello to a new one. I have wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for so long (well, 6 years to be exact), and here’s my chance. I will still be ridiculously busy with a newborn and an online position. But I will miss the LIVE face-to-face moments that I love:

* culture days (because parties are just inappropriate)
* That’s What She Said jokes
* closing the door to tell a story because we’re CERTAIN someone in administration will walk by and take our entire conversation out of context
* making up dances to the most up-to-date songs and showing off our skilllllz at the pep rallies
* reaching the impossible-to-reach student just because I love Metallica or watch Glee or know how to clog
* the actually very tasty chicken quesadillas and “jazzy rice”
* that buzz in the air on Fridays for football games
* dancing with Kristi in the hall every time the fight song is played (and literally yelling at kids who don’t participate)
* dressing up with my 500 building posse for all the ridiculously fun spirit week days
* finding a way to make my A stories apply to my daily lesson
* shaking a fist at the “Central Office camera” in the ceiling of my room
* laughing with the kids over the numerous “What happens in 502 stays in 502” inside jokes
* realizing how much I love these kids who drive me nuts

So while I know that I’m going to still be teaching students in some way, shape or form, and while I know that raising my children from home is an invaluable gift I’ll be giving my family, the thought of giving “my room” up & students to someone else makes my heart ache.

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