Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Teacher's Tear for Her Last Year

Yesterday, I walked back into my classroom after a nice summer break as I have done for 38 years in the past.  This year would be different though because this year as I entered I knew it would be my last school year as a public education teacher in this classroom.  
My bag was filled with cleaning supplies and a few new items to set in the classroom. I was excited and had been shopping with a fellow teacher and just purchased an adorable item to hang on my classroom door.  It reminded me of a "home" where there is love, laughter, and support which is what I always try to maintain in my classroom.  This room has always been my "home away from home".
For the last few years people have said to me...Michele, when are you going to retire?...and I would say...When I can no longer walk into my classroom with a SMILE on my face and EXCITMENT in my step about the curriculum I have planned for the upcoming day.  That day never came:)  This is my last year but not because I am ready to leave the classroom.  The 2015 "magic date" has arrived.
As I entered my classroomI observed storage boxes, labeled clearly,  with hundreds of books, stuffed animals, and materials that have been purchased over the years to make my classroom a special place for children to learn and mature.  Every teacher, as you know, puts an enormous amount of time, energy, love, and $$$  into making their classroom an inviting space. 
One specific box is filled with pcitures of kiddos I have taught over the years.  When they go to middle school I always send them a note and a piece of writing they completed in first grade.  As they graduate from high school I send another note and our 1st grade class photo. Amazing enough I can actually recall many, many of the students I have had over the years.  They stop by, share on Facebook, or send emails that touch my soul to think that they remember me and care enough to let me know.  
I moved in and went about the job of preparing my room for this year. Like alway I want it to be inviting. (Pictures to follow next week.)
Well the classroom is set up, bulletin boards posted, there are some new classroom arrangements, and all the boxes have been taken from storage and put in their place.  My September boxes only have what I will use this year.  All other items were sorted into two other piles...and there were a lot...One for "give away" and another for the "needy classroom" which I am thinking may be a room outside my building.  As you know after teaching sooooo many years you collect a great deal despite the fact I am NOT a saver.  What I will do with all the priceless hard cover books I have purchased, resources, and stuffed animals is yet to be decided.  Right now I can only deal with one LAST at a time!

As I left that day I had tears in my eyes to have completed this FINAL ROOM SET UP of my year of LASTS!  
For someone who has a passion for teaching both kiddos and training educators I know there is something waiting me in the field of education after this year... I am just waiting to hear!!
Stay tuned for more in my story about THE FINAL COUNTDOWN....


  1. Oh this spoke to me. I retired in May and it is so bittersweet to not be setting up my classroom. Enjoy your last ten months!

  2. Enjoy your last year! I'll be following your story about the final countdown!

  3. 38 years?! You must have started teaching when you were 5! Congratulations! I hope your last year in the classroom is as amazing as you. Thank you for being such an inspiration. Jodi

  4. I agree with Jodi! I have been following you on TPT and have always thought you were a young teacher with lots of energy to be creating all of the wonderful products that I have purchased or been given for free by you! I wish you lots of learning, laughter, and love in your final year in your classroom - your students are truly blessed by having you as their teacher :)

  5. I had to check to see if you were a fellow Ohio teacher when you said 2015. I hope you enjoy your last year! We are going to lose a lot of great teachers in 2015!

  6. This was a very heartfelt post. I can imagine how difficult this year of many "lasts" will be. I hope you have a great class and a wonderful last year. I didn't start teaching until I was a little older so I often get asked when I'll retire also. My response is- when I stop having fun or feel like I'm getting grumpy with the kids. I still love teaching and am invigorated by the kiddos. Good luck! Carol

  7. Thank you all! Those who laugh and love will always be young and believe me...I do alot of both.