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.