It’s been a month since I closed the door to room 202 one last time, packed the final boxes into my car, said my goodbyes, and drove away. I knew then that change was on the horizon, that this wouldn’t be an ordinary summer. New adventures awaited.
In those four short weeks there have been many adventures, I’ve been to MLB games in three states (MO, IL, WI), traveled to Lake of the Ozarks for a family reunion (including a visit to a cave), and planned a summer diving trip (CI). The biggest adventure however waits at the end of August when I move from fifth grade to third grade, from a suburban school to an urban one, from retirement in IL to a new career in WI.
I have yet to see my new classroom as the school is being cleaned and summer school is still in full swing. I have no idea what to expect when I open the door to the room for the first time. What furniture will be there, what materials, how many bulletin boards, can I hang things from the ceiling? I know I’ll need to put in time to organize the room and be ready for that first day.
I’ve briefly met my teammates and some of the other staff members. I’ll be attending some training sessions in August as I acclimate to my new environment. There will be new curriculum, new procedures, new faces, new materials. It brings me back to my first days of teaching when everything was new and I had more questions than answers.
I knew when I signed to retire four years ago that I wasn’t ready to leave education. I was hopeful I’d have an opportunity to work in an urban environment, one different from my years teaching in a well funded suburban one; a new adventure with new challenges. This is something I’ve wanted to do. I want to use my skills, ideas and experience to make a difference in this new setting. I’ve embraced the ideals of Ellin Keene, Kylene Beers and Bob Probst, Ralph Fletcher, Donalyn Miller, Steven Layne, Paul Solarz (Arrr), The Two Writing Teachers and others. My hope is that I can successfully implement these ideals in my new classroom. I know it won’t be easy (wish me luck), I know this new environment will have many challenges, I know I still have a lot to learn.
It’s been a month since I closed the door to room 202 one last time, to a place where I lead workshops, served on committees, mentored new teachers and had a deep understanding of the curriculum and procedures. Soon I will open the door to my new room, to a place where I’m new and have a lot to learn, where I need mentors. Here’s to new adventures, to taking chances, to continuing to learn, to helping students flourish.