Sunday Reflections

Hello, friends. It’s been some time, hasn’t it? Today is a gorgeous, warm, mid-spring day here in Ohio, the kind we spend the rest of the year either wishing for or looking back upon. I’ve spent the weekend dog sitting for a colleague, which reminded me of how much I miss the long, leisurely walks Miss Omar and I used to take. Is this a subliminal hint for me to visit the pound again for a furry companion? Time will tell. In the meantime, so many other things are blossoming in life…

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With the start of May, we begin the countdown to the end of the school year. This is a big milestone this year as I have decided to leave teaching. A number of reasons have played into this, and quite frankly, I have not enjoyed being in the classroom for several years (prior to COVID). I am not able to retire yet–in fact, thanks to changes in the retirement system beyond our control, I have ten more years until I can retire. I cannot teach ten more years. Over the past several months I have processed and talked with the people who are most important to me, and not only do they understand, they support me completely. Do I know what I will do next? Keep reading…

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In the past three years, I have earned three new teacher certifications, none classroom related. It started with my 200 hour RYT yoga certification, then a 200 hour RYT meditation certification, and two weeks ago, certification to teach Yoga Nidra. This is where I feel most drawn–to help people learn to process and heal all that has happened in life in the last several years. I use many of these techniques with my students with great success, and as a result, have developed ideas for using meditation to teach better self-awareness and social emotional skill building with students. This led me to write a proposal for sabbatical to develop a program for the entire district to use that does not require ANY teacher professional development training to implement. The deadline for notifying me of the committee’s decision to award or not award the sabbatical was yesterday, and I have heard nothing yet. If it’s a no, I leave and develop the program myself. If it’s a yes, I have the scaffold of a deadline next May. Either way, the change in my life is needed and necessary.

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Leaving the classroom will be hard and easy. The newcomer school in my district has been filled to capacity so now when brand new non-English speakers start school, they come to their neighborhood schools. These are the kids I love teaching most, and how I started my career. My classes are now half nearly-grade level students and students with absolutely no English. This isn’t one of my breaking points for leaving, but it is an intense challenge. Fortunately, all of the non-speakers are LatinX, so my Spanglish is getting a good, solid workout. My classes have tables of non-English and grade-level English, a massive balancing act that seems fitting for my last month of teaching.

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Talking to my most trusted colleagues about this transition has started incredibly deep and interesting conversations that have surprised me. I am well aware that I have never been outside the structured day/regimen of public education since age 5–meaning I’ve never really had to experience the “real world” outside of school. One colleague insists this difference will hit me hard in August when I am not required to wake up in the dark to come to school. I’m sure she’s on to something, but I doubt it will hit me hard. Of all the things I plan to change, waking up at the 4:30-5am hour is not one of them. This is when I do my best and most creative work, writing, and general creating. It just so happens that having to leave for school at 6:30 cuts into my creative time. Not so much then. I wish I could sleep in, but if I wake up around 6 or 7, I feel half of my day is already over, and I’m most certainly not a night owl.

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In earning my Yoga Nidra certification, I spent several days at an ashram where the classes took place. What a fascinating experience. Initially, my habitual Taurus self was a little fearful of having a different kind of schedule to follow, but I found that I loved the community, the practices, and everything about it. I also realized how much better I felt after eating vegetarian for the time there. As the granddaughter of a hog farmer, this seems counterintuitive to the way I was raised, but I can’t argue with feeling better–especially as I age. I think my grandpa would understand as I experiment with less meat in my life. After all, he farmed soybeans, too.

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What changes are happening in your world? I’d love to hear. In the meantime, enjoy the days with more sunlight and less cold. We’ll be in the heat of summer before you know it.

Beth

2 thoughts on “Sunday Reflections

  1. Like you, I have to wake up early or half the day is gone! Even in retirement, I am up around 6 which is much better than the 5 a.m. alarm for all those years teaching. I gather you are not retiring, just looking for something else to do? I wish you well. I was able to retire from teaching at 58, with a pension, and with the hopes of finding a marketing job with a non-profit. No one wanted to hire an old retired school teacher. The interviews all said I would be bored. What they really meant was that they were looking for a very young, right out of college grad. Before teaching, I had worked in the “real world” for 13 years so I knew what it would be like, but still, no takers.

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    1. 6 is a great time to wake up, although I’ve discovered my body automatically gets up closer to 5:30 without an alarm, so I’ll take it. No, I’m not retiring. I’m not able to, with the changes in our system that require us to go five more years longer than when I began. I truly feel my work needs to change as my heart is no longer in my classroom and I’m sure newer, fresher teachers can do better. I’m looking forward to adventure 🙂

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