Are You Counting the Days?
The question everyone asks when they find out you are going to retire, “Are you counting the days?” I have to say that although I’m thrilled to be retiring from the superintendency, I am not counting the days....rather I am losing more sleep than ever because I want to make sure I leave everything, clean and complete so my successor is able to jump in and begin the next chapter in the district’s book!
As the first born in my family I have been cursed with the “responsibility” gene and always want to take care of things...my mom always said, “Make sure you always leave things better than you found them!”
This year was my 38th in education and I have enjoyed every minute. I have had my share of controversy and angst, but the overwhelming majority of my career I have worked with true professionals who were committed to doing the best they could for kids! Looking back, I always feel that wherever I was, at whatever time, it was magical. I enjoyed the perfect mix of the right people working together at the right time to make good things happen. But this year, I think it was the universe's way of telling me that’s enough...go and do something else. The book I’m going to write is going to have a title like, “The Last 180 days - Bat-sh—Crazy.” I think this year has given me material for at least 24 chapters!
Between protracted contract negotiations (the agreement has been expired for 2 years, but I think my parting gift might be a settlement), vandalism at one of the primary schools, residency issues, and the infamous Carbon Dioxide debacle (just open a window!), I have dealt with enough new issues to reassure me that I have made the right decision.
The good news is I am a new GiGi, that is the name I chose for myself because I think it sounds more hip and fun than Grandma. I look forward to spending lots of time with my little Maddy May. I was never able to spend extended time home with my own children when I was a young teacher and new mom. I always worked except for one magical year when I was on sabbatical (when that was still a thing). I attended graduate school full time and went from a soda and chips mom to a cookies and milk mom that year and loved every minute of it.
I do want to keep active in the field after retirement begins as I do consider this a vocation and feel strongly that we must nurture the next generation of teachers and administrators. This work is getting more difficult every day and we need to support each other. I want to make sure the people taking care of me when I’m drooling are caring, empathetic, and compassionate while they are carefully reading my chart!
Parting words...take care of each other. Make the most of every day. Enjoy the ride, if it isn’t fun anymore, get off. You can find me with little Maddy by the pool or at the beach sporting lots of sunscreen, a hat, and under an umbrella reading a book for fun!