Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cleaning Led to Revisiting Retirement - #SOL18 - 3/22/18

**I'm so grateful to the #SOL community for welcoming me each and every time I post a slice. Thank you so very much to the team at Two Writing Teachers for coordinating and hosting this slicing community for the entire month of March for the Slice of Life Challenge. You all rock!!**

*During this year's challenge, my plan is to reflect on a slice of my life from that day, or the day before, and write about it. No theme to tie my writing together this year, no plans ahead of time.  Just glimpses into slices of my days. Not having a plan is a very uncomfortable place for me, both as a person and a writer, so fingers crossed for the 9 remaining days (we made it to single digits!!!).*

I've been on a cleaning binge this week. Yesterday and today I was very focused on my office space. I had already tackled this job last May when I retired, and brought all my personal teaching possessions home. I thought I had it in control, but ten months later, every inch of that work space was a disaster zone.

How much of a disaster???

  • Two big black garbage bags full of papers and just stuff.
  • One large box full of school supplies - pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, binders, journals, post-it notes, pencil pouches, notepads, and much more. Far more than I could ever use in my lifetime. (Luckily, I can donate this box of supplies.)
  • A huge bag of ARCs and middle grade books ready to donate.

So, it was a productive day, my space is now clean, and I am now motivated to tackle the rest of the house.

But today, during the cleaning, I had a few emotional moments as some priceless treasures were unearthed:

  • All the retirement cards and notes I received last May to celebrate my years as an educator. Notes that were thoughtful and kind. Notes that shared how much it meant to the person that our paths had passed both personally and professionally. Notes that made me smile (and maybe made my vision a bit blurry as I got emotional). I loved rereading all those messages.
  • Many years ago, I had the good fortune to learn with the brilliant Samantha Bennett (That Workshop Book) during a coaching session in my 5th grade classroom. Sam really pushed my thinking during this experience, and made me dig deep to get to my personal beliefs and how they translated to my work with students. Today, I found the note she sent me after our time together - her words to me about our work together were priceless.
  • Right before I retired last year, I was honored with an award given to a staff member once a month in my district. I found the plaque I received when cleaning today, but the part of this that made me teary-eyed were all the nomination letters my colleagues had written for me to receive this award. I couldn't believe the both the quantity of letters written, as well as all the kind words about the impact I made. It was very humbling to read all these again.

So, yes, my office space looks great now, but to get to that place, there were some tears along the way as my cleaning led to revisiting my retirement, and reflecting back on my teaching career.


  1. Sometimes when you get those cards and notes in the moment, you appreciate them, but you don't savor the kind words they say. Now, nearly a year later those words touch your heart. Good to have your space organized and the words echo in your mind. A good day for you.

  2. A long time ago, someone told me to save all those notes (as well as the ones I received from students and parents over the years). She said on my worst day or my saddest days, I should take them out and read them. I have done that. It brings back the love and caring of friends, students, colleagues and parents. It fills my heart. Hang onto some of those. You just may need them in the days ahead.