Tomorrow is the teacher in-service. This is the "official" start to the new school year. My official start, on the other hand, was Monday when I conducted a three-hour grammar review for in-coming students - and that start continued today when I administered the required grammar proficiency test. The in-service tomorrow will be from 8:30 - 3:00 and then Thursday night is back to school - when we meet with the parents of each class for a whopping 8 minutes to try to explain all that we plan to accomplish over the course of this academic year.
I am normally quite ready for school to start again - and I must admit that I do have some anticipatory butterflies in my stomach that accompany this fresh new beginning. I still enjoy shopping for school supplies (there is nothing like the feel of a brand new spiral bound notebook or an unopened back of BIC pens just waiting to document snippets of truth gleaned over the course of the year) - but this year feels a bit different. Perhaps it is because my summer was filled with angst that never quite allowed me to fully relax and recuperate from the past academic year. Or perhaps it is because last year was a challenge on so many levels that I am a bit leery of what this year may hold. But mostly I think....it is because I am preparing myself for retirement.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this profession - calling -vocation. It sought me out...and while I did not willingly heed the call, I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to make a difference in children's lives. But for quite sometime now I have felt that it is time to move on. Last May I gave notice - three years' notice - and let them know that I will officially retire May, 2013. This feels right for a variety of reasons, but mainly, I will be 55 years old and that is a very respectable retirement age.
I still have three more years to teach - and I hope to impart as much knowledge as I ingest. This year I plan to try to the concept of the "flipped classroom" - which will be a huge learning experience. Next year I will drop the freshman English class in order to free up some time from grading all those papers. And the following year....well, that will be the last hurrah.
I am ready. But I am determined not to wish my life away. I look forward to the classes I will teach this year: English 8 (with 16 students); English 9 (with 10 students); Brit Lit (with 7 students); Yearbook (with 7 students); high school grammar (with 7 students); and college level English Comp (with 13 students) ---- but I also look forward to a new chapter in my own life.