On occasion, I’m dramatic and theatrical. I recently suffered from a finger injury that occurred while flossing my teeth (think paper cut but with floss) and I talked non-stop about it for two days. I made my husband dress the wound with a butterfly bandage and gave him constant updates. Occasionally, I’m theatrical.
When it comes to goodbyes, however, I am not one for fanfare.
I prefer to slip out of parties unnoticed, and while this is mostly due to the fact I am leaving 30 minutes after arriving, it is also because I just don’t like them. This may be a common thing to dislike, but I am sure others need a formal “goodbye” for closure. Not me. Let me just slip out like I was never here.
That was kind of my plan for this job transition- slip out the last day, watch the busses from my rearview mirror and hit up the nearest Starbucks.
Because next year, I won’t be returning to this job.
I will move from teaching 6 year olds to teaching 16 year olds. I’m so excited, but change is hard, even good change.
Over the past 6 years, literally thousands of students have come in and out of my classroom doors.
6 years of excitement, energy, and experiences.
6 years is not exactly a lifetime, but a lot of life has happened between the walls of my classrooms. (Also, I could argue teacher years are like dog years, which means I am wrapping up my 42nd.)
Anyways, something strange happens between colleagues who have worked together for awhile. Somewhere along the way, they turn into your favorite people, some like family.
Personally, my “colleagues” have walked with me through dark days of crying at my desk during lunch when I was too depressed and heartbroken to speak.
They have left me notes on my desk every Tuesday for years to brighten my morning.
They have understood by the way I responded to an email that something was wrong.
The teachers I have worked with attended my wedding, brought me coffee, checked in on me, listened to me, taught me, inspired me, and supported me through six years of ups and downs, both personally and professionally.
We taught in the trenches together.
And in those professional trenches: we have soothed escalating students together. We have broken down in sobs breaking tough news to a student. We have collaborated and vented and dreamed and brainstormed together. We have designed curriculum and written lesson plans. Six years might not be a lifetime, but it’s been full of a lot of life.
I realized this week that I cannot just suppress or avoid this goodbye. This one means too much to me.
I could slip out when the bell rings and shove those emotions behind all of the relief that I made it through my 42nd year.
How is it that I both want the year to end so badly, but I never want it to end?
Part of me does feel a little dramatic as I make this transition: It was my decision and I’m staying in the same district. I’ll be working just miles away from where I am now.
I will still see my people sometimes.
But really, those 5 miles might as well be 500, because it will be different. It will all be different.
So instead of a nonchalant, quiet goodbye, I’ll embrace the sad reality of change, even good change, and give it the goodbye it deserves.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to every person who has crossed their path with mine over the past 6 years.
Thank you for the morning coffees, the encouraging texts, the friendship that goes beyond what I thought any work relationship could.
Thank you for the laughs after crazy days, hugs after hard days, and tears on the hardest days.
Thank you for finding time to care about me when you’re busy running the school and have ten million other things to do.
Thank you for saving me with your lesson plans when you know I’m drowning.
Thank you for allowing me to steal supplies out of your closets when I was in a pinch (or too cheap to buy my own.)
Thank you for group texts that inform me who has snacks when I’m too hungry to go on (there are those theatrics again).
Thank you for not getting mad when you caught me in your candy jar.
Thank you for covering my classroom when an emergency came up and I had to step out.
Thank you for your advice on my outfits and hair in the morning.
Thank you for your passion, your On the Border dates, your leadership, and your love.
Thank you for dreaming with me.
Thank you for being more than co-workers and for turning into my family. A large, crazy, family.
And don’t get me started on the students! Those precious loves. What a journey it has been.
I will most likely leave the puppets behind as I transition to secondary, along with all of their carefully developed personalities and backstories. I will be starting over in a lot of ways, and while this is what I want long-term, it doesn’t make the here and now any easier.
To my work family: thank you. You have carried me through and kept me going. I thank God for putting such a supportive, incredible group of people in my life.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am excited and ready for new beginnings and a new challenge professionally, but am realizing now that in order for that new beginning, I have to face this difficult ending.
Like I have said with my students:
“It’s not adiós, but rather its chao (chow). Not goodbye forever, just goodbye for now.”
Also, I want my legacy to be how seriously I took my treat days. Never forget and always hold yourself to a high standard.