I have been starting school in September for 53 straight years (minus one for a maternity leave). Just writing that in print amazes me. But this September was different. I didn’t start a new school year because I retired from teaching in June, but it wasn’t until September 4th that my new reality sunk in. That day I had a waking version of your basic teacher nightmare: I had that panicky feeling that I had forgotten that I should be in the classroom, fully prepared, with two dozen little faces looking back at me.
I almost thought of changing the title of this blog. I never did come up with the time or energy to take the risk of starting to blog when I was in the classroom full time, and now that I’m not, does that title really hold true? After thinking about it a bit, I decided that yes, it does. To quote another colleague, “once a teacher, always a teacher”. A colleague of mine emailed me the other day and quoted a student asking a classmate “Why did Mrs. Xenis expire?” Well, I may have “expired” from active teaching but kids, teachers and learning are still very much on my mind and in my heart.
I left full time classroom teaching because I wanted more balance in my life. It’s an interesting experience at this stage of my life to be setting priorities. What’s really important? Where do I want my energy, heart, and time to go? My family is first, always. What about friends, reading, theatre, community work, gardening, reflection? Oh, yes. But my passion for children, for finding ways to help them be what they are meant to be, for working with teachers, for new learning about learning is still there. So now I need to find new ways to explore and express that passion. This blog is intended to be one of those ways.
I am still talking to colleagues, working with inquiry and SmartLearning, reading books, articles, tweets, following education news. I still have opinions, run across new ideas I want to share, and heaven knows, I have years of experience in the classroom. I think I still have something to contribute to children and teachers. So here’s what you might find on this blog: book reviews, reflections on classroom experiences, reflections on my new adventures in learning, reactions to articles, blogs and tweets, and responses to conversations with friends and former colleagues.
So, a different kind of September. I’m not starting a new school year. I’m starting a new adventure, learning to live my life with a different perspective.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/timoni/389745528/”>timoni</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>