So, on the very first day I ever taught, I slid into my car with my 18-inch miniskirt and parked on the north side of the school facing what should have been the sunshine. Instead, a huge, black cloud crowded the skies. During first hour and the annual class meetings the power failed, and my new classroom (upstairs in the middle) went totally dark. I remember my juniors were reading a letter to the class from the teacher they had the year before. Thoughts and doubts pervaded my mind: Did they like her better than they did me? Was the darkness a sign that I was in the wrong job? Would I be able to do this?
Answers have come in waves through the year. Through different attitudes and perceptions from nearly every student, parent, and coworker, the message has remained the same with teaching as it does with life. Some people like us. Some people don’t. It is good to be able to tell the difference, but it is vital to like ourselves. As for the “dark sign?”---- nah… Even though some days have been very dark indeed, the sparks of light that enter a teacher’s soul are more than plenty to illuminate her years in active service and I’m hoping, the years of retirement. I will never forget the little glimpses of glory that have come to me during the 37 years of teaching. Every time a student has been proud, pleased, or appreciative of his work or of another’s, I say a little hallelujah. Teaching has been the heart of my life.
Can I do this? Do we ever, ever, EVER stop asking that? I still don’t know the answer. I guess I can. Now the query shifts to going without school. Can I do that? I suppose I can. So as school ends, I feel no older inside. I sure don’t wear 18-inch skirts any more, and my girls would get sent home for those. I loved those girls with all my heart and stay close to so many of my former students in one way or another. Much, much can be said for living/working an entire career in one spot. I have a dear one who told me last night it would be good to get out before I taught grandchildren… well, too late. I have taught three generations of some families and two generations of so many.
. . . .( interruption)
Two girls just ran in to see if my nails were painted blue or lavendar. They were arguing at an assembly about it and ASKED permission to come ask me an"important question." These two cuties proceeded to show me their fingernails and to strip off their foxy socks to show me their glorious toes, as well… Funny, that incident just made me cry a little bit. I mean, seriously, after I walk out of here May 16th, who will give a flying flip what color my nails are?