The classroom came to me late — after 25 years in the business world. My life mate, Linda, suggested it to me; then she helped me with my decision; then she helped me prepare and complete the necessary additional education; and then she helped me get through the first rocky year. I could not have done any of it without Linda. In fact, there is little I can do without Linda.
My entire teaching experience has been wonderful. From going back to college and having lunch daily with a group of young women (I was almost 50, harmless, and safe), to matching report cards with my elementary school daughter with both of us proudly sticking them on the refrigerator, to my first elementary school class room, to this, my final year, every step of the way has been fun and rewarding.
My memories are many. I will never forget my fifth graders and their Shakespeare Festival. Ten year old Romeos not wanting to kiss Juliet. And sword fights with big old plastic toy swords. All presented to an standing-room-only crowd of moms in a temporary classroom with plywood walls and creaky floors. Pure greatness.
Nor will I soon forget my 15 years of coaching math teams, complete with a few state championships to keep my juices flowing. Of course the trophies came after some serious time investment by both the kiddos and me. Four years ago we even started our own tournament which is now one of the best attended in Texas; we had over 300 kids with us this past December — imagine, 300 middle-schoolers gathering for a day of math tests on a Saturday!
But there is no doubt that my proudest and fondest thoughts will be about the many notes and thank-yous I have received from students over the years. I teach algebra and geometry to 7th & 8th graders. These are not necessarily fun subjects for young teens, and the math teacher is seldom a student favorite. But over the years I have had invitations to Eagle Scout ceremonies, valedictorian celebrations, notes of thanks from ex-students earning perfect SAT scores; invitations to teacher recognition events, and ever so many wonderful notes from past students who have remembered me.
And it is not only thank you notes. This past Tuesday I was surprised with over 75 of my kiddos, high school students, coming to Quail Valley for a little send-off party. More who could not come on Tuesday stopped by later in the week. Many of these students haven’t seen me for several years. I was thrilled.
But this year ends my run. Good as it has been, it is time to go. I am following an old show biz adage: I am getting off the stage before they send me off.
It has been great, but final bell has rung and the thing is done, and there other things that need doing. So off I go as “…I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”