Sunday, October 17, 2010

Then and Now

I’ve always loved the chalkboard!  I had one as a know, the kind that was really large and on a wooden stand.  (Well, if you grew up in the 60’s like me then you know exactly what I’m talking about!)  While my brothers and sisters were outside playing, I would be inside pretending to be “the teacher” with my make-believe class.  I loved watching my teachers at school write on the classroom board and couldn’t wait until I got my turn to do the same.

That’s where it all started.  My wanting to become a teacher began as a child.  My desire grew as I got older and I just knew that would be my career path as I entered college.  My dream came true when I got my first job.  Graduating from high school early and having a late birthday put me in my first classroom as a young 20 year old.  I taught 4th grade that year.  Hard to believe now that I was only 10 years older than my students!  I moved on to teaching 2nd grade the following year and continued in that same grade for the next 31 years.  I absolutely loved it! 

I decided to retire this past May.  Not because I was worn out from 32 years of teaching mind you, but due to budget cuts in the school system.  You see, the county I taught in decided to pack 25 kids in a class which meant that one teacher in my grade level had to be moved to another position.  Yes, that teacher was me.  While I really didn’t have the desire to retire at that point, I also had no desire whatsoever to start all over in another grade level.  Maybe if I’d only taught 10-15 years or so, but not after 32!  SO....I made the decision to retire!

Retirement at 53 years old?  Wow!  That was a scary thought at first.  I just couldn’t imagine not teaching.  It was such a large part of my identity that I felt like I was losing part of myself at first.  What would I do with myself?  I was mad, too.  I always thought that I’d plan my retirement – like a year ahead of time.  I wanted it to be on my terms!  Little did I know at that time, it was the best decision I ever made!  It truly was a blessing!  I am so much happier now. 

Yes, I’ve moved beyond the chalkboard, but in a way I’m still writing on it!  I’ll explain that another day!
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