It is true. I have missed the children at school each and every day since I retired last June. I miss the teachers and their friendly voices and strong opinions. I miss the friendly greetings each morning from the children, the teachers, my teaching assistant, the principal, the assistant principal, the office clerk, the secretary, the nurse, the security leader-always looking out for the children’s safety, the building manager & her custodians and of course-the parents. Perhaps, I might not ever really conquer missing the children. It is most likely very typical for me to miss the cherished task of teaching joyful children!
Honestly, I could barely walk from my car to the side door of the building without a parent or child calling out my name. Every teacher was usually greeted that way. The families love the neighborhood school and many attended the same school when they were young. I loved the school too…more than I ever realized. It is true that I did not like non-positive interference from the administration building when we had visitors from “downtown”. The following is an actual scenario in my classroom last year…
Them: “Mrs. Davis! Why are you having the children complete a worksheet?” Me: “It’s not a worksheet. It is a six page book that they are learning to read. Don’t worry. It truly aligns with the curriculum.” Them: “It is a worksheet.” Me: “You are standing by the door. How can see what they are working on? Walk over to a table and sit down with them. They will tell you what they are doing! Maybe one of them will want to read the book to you. Remember! They are barely five years old. Lots of them are starting to read!” Them: “That is impossible.” Me (politely): “You must not believe in these children! Most of them speak two languages! Give us some credit for working as smart and as hard as we can! Give me some credit!” Them: (while shutting the door and walking out): “Teachers. They get on my nerves.”
That is the exact moment that I decided to go ahead and retire…five years before I planned to retire. Because of a back injury in a car accident, I was totally uncomfortable all of the time. The pain tended to be severe. If I retired…I could have more time for serious physical therapy. If I retired…I could write this blog. If I retired…I could write the book that I have planned for so long. I know that without the back injury, I would have stayed. There is no doubt about that. Difficult decision, but really no choice.
However…If I retired…I would not have to listen to the people from “downtown” complaining about something that did not exist. If I retired…I would not have to be upset because our scores were high and not even one person commended us. If I retired…I would not have to be upset because the children were excited about learning and not one person seemed to notice. If I retired…I would not have to be upset because my class was building a very strong foundation and not one person really realized what was going on.
If a person from “downtown” simply stands at the door and does not walk over and talk with the children…how will “downtown” ever really know the potential of these children? They will not know, but I know. And that is what matters the most. They did not know that I always try to talk with many students and parents from all of my past classes. But I know. They did not know that I put my whole heart into that classroom. But I know. And that very fact is what is important.
Yes…I miss the children and the teachers each and every day. I miss encouraging the children and the parents. I miss the laughter. I am certain that the laughter is what I miss the most. To retire before I had planned to retire was a difficult decision, but the right decision for many reasons. I would not want to “get on the nerves” of someone from downtown. Far be it for me to make them unhappy…just because I happened to always be putting the children first!