Why a blog?

I suppose the first question to ask is why does a person “blog”?  I think as a retired educator my answer is simple.  I’ve spent a lifetime “instructing”—communicating if you will.  Some people communicate through the written word, some people communicate through the spoken word, some people communicate through visual imagery, some people communicate through the use of sound….a teacher teaches most often utilizing all of the above but the bottom line is a teacher has something to share.  And that is what I would like to do, I would like to share with whomever reads this “blog”.  Maybe, just maybe, I may offer something to someone which may be of benefit—be it a laugh, a bit of empathy, a shared experience—teachers share….  They share their knowledge, their journeys, their life’s adventures, their failures and their victories, their passions, their dislikes.  For good or bad a teacher molds and forms.

Teaching has often been described as a calling, a vocation—not just a “job”.  The hours are long, the pay is minimal, the rewards are fleeting.  Often it is the family of the teacher who takes a back seat to his/her “kids”.  I’ve often been heard to lament to many a principal that I was a better parent to my “kids” than to my own son.  I often told my students that they spent more time at school with their teachers than they did with their own families—that was why I took my job very seriously and the truly important issue was that I was often a surrogate parent to a myriad of kids.

If you looked into the “about me” profile you’ve read that I recently retired due to my elderly father having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  53 seems terribly young to retire.  I started teaching right out of the gate if you will.  Graduating college –jumping directly from the frying pan into the fire! ( I will write more about that at another time).  So almost 31 years have passed.  It was time for me to be more flexible with my time for my dad.  It was also time for me to allow some new enthusiasm to enter my classroom.

The transition has not been always easy.  At first I found it sad to be sure—the saying of all of the good-byes and the packing up of a lifetime last May.  I spent almost 31 years in the same school.  That in itself, in this day and time, is amazing.  Whereas I knew the time was at hand, I was still sad and actually quite scared.  I have been in a school setting for almost 50 years.  I was the true Pavlov dog.  I lived on the bell and for the bell.  Freedom and flexibility would be grand but also frightening.

My principal wanted me desperately to stay.  There is something to be said for the veterans amongst the younger crowd.  A veteran teacher may be a bit outdated but they offer stability and have a staying power.  They anchor the ship so to speak.  They may not be the most innovating but they are sustainable.  The Yoda amongst the young Jedi warriors.

On the day that I was honored by our school and had the yearbook dedicated to me and to my time of service, I found myself writing an e-mail to a dear friend and longtime colleague.  I explained about the pain in leaving the one world I had known for so very long but of the peace I had had in how things had played out—from the timing of my decision, to my replacement, to the joy we were currently experiencing in the celebration of my service— that I likened my departure to the departure of a famous NFL player…..following is an excerpt from that e-mail:

Hines Ward was one of the best players UGA had ever seen– much better than Hershel as he could do more things and do them very well.  When he graduated he was drafted by the Steelers.  He’s played his entire career with them.  Last month he made an announcement that he was going to retire.  It was an emotional speech for him– he was still healthy, still a team player, still able to make those plays…but he knew for his body’s sake it was time– go out on top rather than being forced out, embarrassed out, or taken out on a stretcher…I feel that way too.  He cried making his announcement.  It doesn’t mean he no longer loves the game but rather that he knows there is still more life for him to live… I kind of want to think I’m thinking like Hines Ward..

So it is all of that and then some which brings me here—typing away on my computer on my kitchen table vs my desk in my classroom.  Retiring has not meant I am too old, too late, too inept, too passed my prime—it just means I’m having to switch gears and re-learn a few things—like how to be more wife and mom even though my son is almost 25, and certainly more of a daughter.  I figure it’s never too late to learn as I have spent a lifetime teaching others about learning.

So my blogging is not about the end of a  journey but rather about the ending of one path that has only opened up to a new path..so here is to Robert Frost and the woods with the two paths….”two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by, and that had made all the difference.”  Here’s to hoping so………………..