Since we have been home, the realization that I have retired from teaching and am living with a guy that is home most of the time has set in. We are still doing the dance, figuring out like newlyweds who will perform what household chore. When I retired in May I did not get much of a chance to rest, relax or contemplate my next chapter. We left the week after school was finished for our European trip. I’m home now and I’ve had some chance to reflect on my decision to retire. I miss teaching, when I was hiking yesterday my heart ached as I watched the kids ride past me on their bikes, racing to the first day of school.
I was missing the frantic pace of the beginning of the school year. I loved teaching but who am I kidding? The start of each school year is filled with stress, insomnia, massive workload and anticipation. I loved decorating my classroom, setting up centers and activities. But I didn’t love how sore I would be and how many long days I put in before school even started. Did I miss the ridiculous staff meetings that prevented me from setting up my classroom? No. Did I miss the mountain of paperwork that accompanied every new school year? No, well maybe a little bit. Some of that paperwork includes a little snapshot of how a particular child performed on a variety of tests as well as a plan to help that child get to where they needed to be developmentally. Sometimes they were very informative, but they never give you the real picture of what a child was capable of. That’s the teacher’s job to discover. Discovering potential is really the job of every good teacher. The future is so bright, but the emotions are so raw in the preschool. There are lots of tears and tantrums, and the kids sometimes have difficulty too. But I can not deny my absolute love for the kids who, by the year’s end I always refer to as “my kids”.
I was thinking long and hard about my decision to retire when I received a message asking me to sub for preschool. I needed to update my Fingerprint Clearance Card, get a Substitue Teacher Certificate, fill out a job application, get references and then I would be allowed to substitute in the school district that I left three months ago. It’s no wonder school districts have such a hard time getting and keeping subs.
After paying $130 and spending some time learning how to log into the substitute website I was now cleared to sub in my district and receive pay of $85 a day. I was immediately assigned to a small classroom about thirty minutes from my home. I loved the kids and the work was challenging and exhausting, I napped as soon as I got home and was literally tapped out. I’ve decided to put some parameters on where and when I will sub. I will only do special ed preschool and I’m only going to work one day per week, unless I have a trip planned or something else going on in my life. I’m not subbing for the pay, (I haven’t even broken even yet!) but I’m subbing for the hugs.