I have now officially ended my 17th year of teaching. I’m not sure where time has gone, or how all of those years have flown by so quickly.
I began teaching straight out of college. I graduated in May 2002, had a job by July and began teaching in August. I was at Lyons Creek Middle School from 2002-2004, at South Plantation High School from 2004-2014, and now at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School since 2014.
The funny thing is that I was offered a job twice at MSD before taking it this time. The Friday before school began in 2002 and 2004, I received messages on my answering machine – yes, an answering machine – offering me a job to start on Monday. I politely declined because I already had a classroom set up at another school. I guess the third time is the charm.
This year was like no other year. Aside from living in the shadow of 2/14, there were so many other things that went on. The highs were receiving such praise for the 2018 yearbook, being given the Gold Crown and it and receiving the Gold Key for myself. The lows were immeasurable and included navigating my own mental health and newly-diagnosed PTSD, helping my students cope, trying to figure out how and what to teach without being overwhelming and insensitive, having three administrators ripped out from under us and four new ones step in, listening to lie after lie from the School Board, and finally having to hear Ty, our fearless leader, tell us that he’s stepping down as Principal at the end of the year.
My friend group goes out for breakfast on the last day of school every year. I chose not to go today. I got to school just in time for the final faculty meeting. I sat in the back by myself, and listened to over 10 faculty members give retirement speeches, with others listed who just wanted to fade away quietly. I envy them, in that they get to live outside of a bell schedule. I now that I have at least 13 more years until I’ll be eligible to retire, but I also know that I’ll be teaching far past that. I also don’t envy them, because I get to continue doing what I love, and in the place I’m the most happy doing it.
After the retirements were all announced and applauded, three teachers got up to recognize three people who would be leaving, as well. The final person recognized was Ty. When she spoke, the teacher who shared about Ty spoke to who is truly is: a leader, a giant, a teddy bear, a friend, a supporter. I have worked for a lot of principals, but only one other who I would put in the same category as Ty, and Ty still comes out ahead. I began to cry when she was speaking. Then Ty got up to address all of us. That’s when I lost it. He spoke openly and candidly from the heart. He cried. I cried – like ugly cried. As soon as the meeting was over, I left campus as quickly as I could. I didn’t say goodbye to anyone, or wish them a peaceful summer. I just wanted to go home.
I am glad that the year is over. I’m glad that I will have the summer to rest, recharge, travel, heal and spend time with my children. I haven’t stopped since long before 2/14. It’s going to be nice to slow down, since stopping isn’t in my wheelhouse.