This week, I am joining in Marsha Ingrao’s #WQWWC (Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writer’s Challenge). The prompt includes Learning, Education or Schools. The only rule is to use a quote. Thanks Marsha, for the fun challenge.
Once a teacher, always a teacher. No matter where you go or what you do, you can never truly get out of teaching. It’s like the Mafia. You know too much.
If the air feels crispy and the store shelves are stocked with school supplies and Halloween decor, then a new year will soon begin. I regard the first day of school as New Year’s Day, complete with hopeful resolutions and expectations. When else are Anime backpacks and the scent of a fresh box of crayons anticipated?
This September I am approaching the second year as a retired teacher. My teaching career spanned almost 40 years and since I was a student for 20 years prior, the first day of school was truly New Year’s Day on my calendar. I loved packing bags with new ideas, activities, and crayons, preparing for the new crew of students and planning creative projects and activities to make learning fun and engaging. My school family of teachers provided exciting collaborations and explorations. Truth be told, the creativity teachers bring to their students and colleagues fuel the engagement and positive tone in the school. All of us were always learning.
Last year’s COVID school opening veiled the excitement for everyone. I barely noticed the day. But this year, I am feeling empty-handed and unprepared.
So I bought myself a fresh supply of highlighters and a spiral bound journal. There is also a new stash of pens. I like the ones that click and have a thick, cushy body and smooth ink delivery. Perhaps I will conveniently walk to the corner of my block at 7:20 am and wave to the passing buses. Most likely, weather permitting, I will sit in a sand chair on a sunny beach and jot down great ideas in my new journal. Sigh.
Don’t get me wrong. Retirement is AWESOME! I revel in the freedom from structured schedules. Writing the stories that have been rattling in my head has taken a front seat priority and fill my days. Within a year, three books will be published (BIG thanks to Stephanie Larkin of Red Penguin Books). I have learned so much! Virtual conferences, Zooming with fellow writers, and practicing and honing the writer’s craft brought me exhausting satisfaction. But wordsmithing the stories and holding and reading from my books is half the joy of writing. Sharing and inspiring my writer’s journey and learning from my readers fulfills the thrill. Kids are my favorite audience readers. Teachers are my best supporters.
Because I am writing Becoming America’s Stories, a middle grade historical fiction series, I can offer students and teachers author presentations and writer workshops. I’ve made some downloadable teacher resources and class activities and registered with Eastern Suffolk BOCES Arts in Education. I can’t wait to walk (either in real new school shoes or virtual flip flops) the school halls, and visit classrooms filled with sweet and eager faces. There may also be opportunities to teach an adult education class and a professional development workshop next spring semester.
It is hard to shake that teacher within me. Although the scheduling and juggling are on my terms, teaching kids and collaborating with teachers will happily clutter my calendar. The saying, “Once a teacher, always a teacher” speaks the truth.
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“If you don’t cook with love, you have to get out of the kitchen.” Florence Messina