Thursday, June 2, 2011
Each day I try to pack another box or clean off a shelf or empty a file cabinet drawer and now that I have done that a bit at a time over the past couple of months it is actually starting to look noticeable. So I have had to slow down and not clean areas that are more or less out in the open as students are beginning to notice and get concerned.
They know I am leaving, they just don't want it to happen and it kind of creates a negative aura around the room. So I have decided to only clean the spaces that are not obvious or out in the open.
What to do with 33 years of belongings? Books, activities, the worm bin I built out of a Rubbermaid storage tub 20 years ago, the the terrarium that has been home to so many critters over the years, tub after tub of science related materials, thermometers, funnels, motors, wiring, switches, light bulbs, microscopes, slides, butterfly and rock and fossil collections? The detritus of a teaching career about to come to an end.
A friend from early in my career, who retired last year, suggested I could make a pretty tidy sum by selling off the books and materials on e-bay or Amazon. "Don't throw it away," she said. "I made enough initially to take my entire family to Disneyland including food and souvenirs!"
So, I continue to pack. Quietly. Drawing as little attention to the task as possible so as not to suggest to my 5th graders that I may abandon them tomorrow. But a box at a time are being filled and sealed and slid under the tables along the walls of the classroom, marked with a description of their general contents on the side. I'm waiting for the best time to walk them out to my car for their trip home to the garage to be stacked out of the way until I decide what to do with their contents.
I took my students to the annual sing-a-long event the school district sponsors each year for the 4th and 5th graders. Students from across the district fill up the 1,000 or so seats of the theater at the local junior college to sing songs the children have been learning all year. Near the end of the event, one of the music teachers up on stage who was helping leading the singing announced that "we have a special teacher in our audience today. He is going to retire this year." And I began to sink into my seat and my students all turned to look at me. "Mr. G has always been so supportive of music in our district. Let's give him a great big hand." While I was honored by their outpouring, I wasn't moved to any sort of emotional response, except the redness of my face due to being singled out at all.
I keep waiting for the emotions of this milestone to come crashing down on me, but so far it just hasn't sunk in. I just look forward to it and whatever it brings. As of this writing, 15 more days!
at 7:34 PM