Yesterday I was finally able to get into my room. I began unpacking my classroom library and putting things back in their places. I also spent time working with a new colleague. He’s taught before, but is new to our district. This is his first year in fifth grade and it’s my last. The reality is beginning to set in. This is the last time I’ll get Room 202 ready, the last opening day I’ll have here. Ready or not, the time has arrived.
I made the decision to leave three years ago after my husband and I sat down looking at numbers. The governor was considering changes to the Teacher Retirement System, changes that would impact my pension. With two years of credit for unused sick days, I would be able to reach the 35 year mark. I knew this day would arrive, the beginning of the end of my time here. Rather than firsts, this year will be filled with lasts. Soon the curtain will open on a new year, my finale.
A few unexpected changes have taken place as I approached this milestone:
• There are four fifth grade teachers on my school team. This year they are all new to fifth grade, two new to the district except for me.
• Our principal announced this past Friday that she is leaving.
• Our school usually has only a few new faces, this year we have seven.
I’m still excited about teaching and continue to learn, incorporating new ideas into my classroom. I can’t wait to meet this new group of fifth graders and begin this year-long journey together. I know this year will be a bit different however, and the final curtain will close in June. I’ll be off to new places (perhaps teaching somewhere new) and this time will be only a memory.
Ready or not, the time has arrived.