Sunday, January 04, 2009

Not Dreading Tomorrow

I am definitely going to wait until summer vacation to decide whether I should retire this year or not. When I am at work, I am tired and frustrated and ready to pack it in. Yet, as I contemplate returning tomorrow, I feel excitement, not dread. (OK, a little dread. I am really not looking forward to getting up at 6:15 while the house is cold and everyone in it is asleep.)

I know I am nuts, but I missed the lunacy that goes with my life as a teacher. I missed the captive audience that laughs at my jokes and reveres my teaching. I missed the kids coming to me for advice. I even missed those geometry kids whose main goal in life is to torture me and every other teacher around. Maybe I need more of a life, but I need the satisfaction achieved by getting some of the scatterbrains to succeed.

I even missed my confrontations with Mr. AP. Even when I lose a battle, I feel I am winning the war with him. He hates arguing with me because he knows he can never get the last word in. I often walk out on him with the word "fine", but he knows it is not fine. He knows that although I say he has won, he hasn't.

If I leave, I will never know if I managed to irritate this principal as much as I have irritated every other principal in the past. I will not get the answer to my son's question "Does the principal irritate you before you irritate him, or is it the other way around?" I will miss watching the young generation of teachers grow up. There are so many fine ones out there and if they can just not be corrupted by NCLB and all these standardized tests, they will be wonderful educators for future generations.

People say the best time to retire is the end of June to double dip, collect pension and summer pay. Money has never been my driving issue. While I am not rich, I have enough. If money was the issue, I would have left almost two years ago.

Vacations are good. In the two weeks we were off, I spent a week in Jamaica, saw a movie I really wanted to see (The Boy In The Striped Pajamas), saw a Broadway play (Boeing Boeing- closed today so you can't see it), shopped, ate out, saw friends and relaxed. I even got to sleep off the affects of a bad cold. But, can I do this forever? I'm not sure. I need to see how I feel during the summer, during the two month break.


Mr. Talk said...

I was glad to read this. I won't say that I'm looking forward to going back tomorrow, as it will be a relentless two weeks of test prep, but I actually enjoy teaching and won't mind seeing the students again at all.


Anonymous said...

Oh yes, the ELA is right around the corner. Back to test prep.
The good thing is that actual teaching starts right after the ELA.

I think your willingless to meet tomorrow with a positive feeling has to do with your new principal.
But, I have a feeling Obama may help you with your decision this summer. He is a big believer in longer school days and year.


nbosch said...

I could retire in Oct 2009 but plan to teach until 2010. I really struggle with what retirement is going to look like for me. Not only have I spent my daytime hours at school, my evenings are filled with reading, networking and thinking about school related things.

I did mention to my husband the other day that if someone would pay me $5000.00 a month I quit tomorrow. The worst part is getting up---well not getting up, it's not being able to go back to bed if I want!! Have a good semester.

MsMalarkey said...

I was glad to read this. It makes me feel a little better about going back. In some ways, I am glad to do test prep for two more weeks- I can ease back in and not really have to think, at least not tonight. I just can't think about thinking tonight.

Anonymous said...

I was also excited to come back today. But I refuse to do straight-up test prep for two weeks, though we will spend some time with an old ELA exam to reorient the kids and review.

Best part of today? I was reading Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel about growing up during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, to the kids before the break, and laryngitis forced me to not finish before the holidays. When I came into the cafeteria this morning while the kids were eating breakfast, one of my kids greeted me with, "Hi, are we reading the end of Persepolis today?"

I was so afraid they'd forgotten, but they nearly knocked me over to get to the book this morning! I was thrilled. And though I'm tired tonight, I'm very pleased to see them again.