Month: May 2016

A Reading Picnic

Tonight, two of our grandchildren spent the evening with us while mom went to have her hair done. These nights are so special. Patrick, age six and Shannon, age five, always fill me with joy and tonight was no exception.

After a easy dinner of chicken nuggest and french fries, I suggested that we have a “reading picnic”.  “Are we going to go outside?” quipped Shannon. “No, honey, it’s too rainy, I explained, we’ll just gather the books we want to read, set up on the floor and enjoy the stories. Both children agreed to this idea and we wandered down to the “library” in the basement to choose the books. Several minutes later, with about seven books in hand, we cozied together on the floor to read.

Patrick was the first to choose, selecting one of my old favorites, Lyle, the Crocodile. Neither of the kiddos had ever heard this tale, so I had a grand time encouraging predictions and stimulating a general discussion of how the story’s problem would be solved. The first book was a hit and we went on to read , another favorite of my kids that these little ones hadn’t heard. Shannon and Patrick were interested to learn that I used to cry when I read the story (what young mother can’t relate to the parents’ sadness?) They kept asking, “Is this the part where you cried, Mimi?”  Too cute!  We were all happy when Sylvester was reunited with his parents. The Rainbow Fish and The Bernstein Bears Try Out for the Team (always have to read a BB book) rounded out our reading picnic.

Shortly after I finished the last story, Patrick and Shannon wanted to write notes. Patrick asked me how to spell “best” and a few minutes later proudly handed me a letter…”Mimi is the best.”  I’m pretty sure they enjoyed our reading picnic as much as I did.

 

Heart of a Teacher

PSSA’s are over, the calendar says May, and the countdown to retirement has truly begun. It’s a very strange, unsettling feeling to know that within six weeks, I’ll shed the identity of “teacher” that I’ve worn for so long. A rollercoaster of feelings battle within me. One day, I’m eagerly anticipating my free time and the next, tears spill when I least expect them. For example, our teacher’s union asks people to contribute essays about teaching in our district. When the call to write came out a few weeks ago, If figured I’d give it a shot and shared examples of the my school and district’s impressive qualities…the qualities that have made me feel so proud. Sunday evening, while checking Facebook, I saw not only my article, but many good wishes and comments that touched my heart. Within minutes, I was sobbing and wondering how I would ever get through the retirement celebrations and parade of good-byes come June.

Undoubtedly, retirement will be bittersweet and I’m actually grateful for my reluctance. Grateful that I’m not eagerly counting the days, grateful that I’m not rushing to pack up my belongings, grateful that I’m not totally thrilled. For me, the hesitancy, the tears, and the mixed emotions symbolize my fulfilling career and the depth of my gratitude for it. My thirty-three years of teaching have brought me such blessings. Teaching has given me the opportunity to learn, to love, and to serve in so many ways. True, I will no longer be a “teacher” in the typical sense of the word, but I could never shed the heart of a teacher that beats within and makes me who I am.