My school year is ending this week..
For the first time in my teaching career, I have no job to anticipate this fall.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
No. Not at all.
I was supposed to be called out at a last staff meeting, given a token of appreciation from the district, (a blanket in Brainerd), and a lotta pat-on-the-backs from younger colleagues.
I was supposed to leave by my choice, knowing that I had made a difference in the lives of kids.
It isn't happening that way.
And I'm really sad.
And somewhere inside me I feel really ashamed.
You see, ever since the state of Minnesota issued me a license to teach at the ripe age of 45, it's been my whole identity. I'm proud to say I'm a teacher; I can criticize the system, but will defend it adamantly if you do. I have a handful of former students in their late twenties who still write me to tell me eighth grade was their favorite year in school. I loved my time in the classroom. I felt that I really made a difference.
So last year, when I began to believe that Jon and I needed our own place to call home; when I realized my precious ones were growing up so fast, and I realized I missed being there for the small stuff like school pick-ups and piano recitals and impromptu dinners with my funny wonderful adult kids, I took a gamble.
I left all that was familiar and secure and I changed jobs. Because really, I thought, "I'm a teacher! There are kids who need me everywhere! Same job, different place."
Except that wasn't true.
It was all so different and foreign. Being a tenured teacher in Minnesota, I had one school year to show my worth.
And I failed.
And that's where my shame enters.
My head knows I'm a good teacher; my heart is having a hard time catching up.
It's nobody's fault; the kids, wonderful in their own way, didn't "get" me or my personality as the year went by. I'm used to giving kids second chances and having them rise to the occasion. Second chances this year caused me to look weak and like a push-over.
But what's done is done.
I know that time will show me the answers.
I titled this new blog Part Three because it is how it feels to me.
Part One of adulthood was early careers and raising my children when they were small.
Part Two of adulthood was my life with Glenn and beginning my teaching career and my children becoming adults.
So Part Three?
It certainly is about the gift I've been given in Jon Kavanaugh and our new life together. And I think it's gonna be about a brand new beginning. I don't know what that is yet...another teaching job? Subbing in the neighborhood? Starting my own tutoring business? Working at something entirely different?
My intention is that Part Three includes "smelling the roses", and a time of high creativity and simple living and just appreciating the TIME, for it passes so quickly.
As I approach a milestone birthday this summer, it all becomes so precious.
I will heal from this defeat, and I will find gratitude in what I found on that journey.
And I will continue to look forward, because that's the only direction that matters.