Back to School Blues

15 Aug

I still have back to school dreams. But for the first time in 25 years I am not going back to school. I will not get a class list or assemble back to school packets. I will not help new students open packs of glue sticks or give hugs to old students that have grown unbelievably in 3 months. I will not get to catch up with old co-workers about their summers over a library table at the first staff meeting. There will be no scrambling to finish setting up my classroom hoping it would be just perfect for Open House.
Almost one year ago I did have a class list, and back to school packets assembled. I did chat with co-workers about their summers. I scrambled to set up my classroom. And by Open House, instead of welcoming parents to a new school year, I was telling them I was leaving. It was awful.
But through the scramble to pack my teaching career up and make way for my replacement, I left behind a small piece of myself. Because those kids were supposed to be mine, if only for a brief time. And I couldn’t let that go. Finding fossils and seeing erosion at work had me wanting to tell them all about it. Seeing a favorite read aloud on a shelf at the library had me wanting to read it to them. I couldn’t, but I still felt a part of things.

This year is different. I do not have a class. I have fifteen boxes. That’s how many boxes and rubbermaid containers it took to hold my lesson plans, book collection, and materials I had created. Everytime I go out to the garage to get my bike or the jogging stroller I see those boxes. A towering reminder of what is missing from my life. The other day I knocked a small plastic organizer off of the end of a table and poems for “Poetry Pockets” spilled everywhere. I just felt so sad cleaning up those extra copies of poems about Abraham Lincoln.
The packet to get my Oregon teaching license sits on a shelf in our “office” closet. I can’t bring myself to fill it out — like it would be the official end to my time teaching in Virginia. Which was an incredible experience. Maybe a once in a lifetime. I met some of my best friends at that school. I worked with some of the most incredible teachers and families. And the students. They will never know how much they have shaped my life or the random things that happen to make me think of one of them. I wish them all a happy, happy year.

I know I have a lot to be thankful for. Staying at home with Abigail brings an incredible amount of joy to my life. I won’t get to do this forever. But today I want to be sad. Sad because for the first time in 25 years I’m not going back to school.

3 Responses to “Back to School Blues”

  1. Kelly Richardson August 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    YOu may be sad, but PLEASE get that HUGE sharpie out of her hands! LOL
    We missed you so badly today! It didn’t feel, sound, or appear to be the same! It’s hard having a full candy basket in the room w/ noone dipping in to find the last starburst!

  2. Sue Moore August 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    We missed you today too! But you are doing an incredible thing staying home with Abigail. I know exactly how you feel. I taught 8 years before Jason was born. When I made the decision to stay home, I was happy, but I felt sad because I left part of my life behind. It was really tough because I still lived in the same community and saw all of my former students all the time – asking if I would please come back. They meant it positively, but always made a part of me sad. You have had 2 great chapters in your life and will have many more.
    P.S. Don’t let your license expire. It is not fun to renew it when it lapses.

  3. Ordinary Girl August 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    I haven’t been teaching for a few years now but I still think about it all the time. I have dreams about teaching and at this time of year, I always itch to have that feeling of starting fresh and beginning again. All of my teaching stuff is packed away in the basement and I happened upon some of it yesterday. I still remember every single one of those kids and each lesson that I found. It just doesn’t go away. So I say be sad if you need to be sad. If you’re a teacher, a good teacher, it’s part of your soul and it’s hard to just turn that off. I love Bean and I love being home and wouldn’t change that at all, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss the classroom. It’s a special place.

    ICLW #31

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