End of an Era?

The students’ last day of school, I stood in the hallway staring into space. I listened and watched as children screamed goodbyes to each other and some of them cried and swore to always keep in touch. A few came looking for me and told me they loved me and hugged me tightly. I hate the last day of school.

Mrs. Stone we love you!  See you next year!

Next year. Yes .Maybe. Right.

The REAL last day of school, I wandered down to the Registrar’s office to turn in my grades and wish everyone a good summer.  As I came back up the hallway, seniors were coming in for graduation rehearsal and some of the students I’d taught the very first year I began working at this school ran to me and hugged me tightly.

Oh, Mrs. Stone, what will we ever do without you here to fuss at us and tell us to “get it together now”!

You’ll all be fine, I tell them. But will I?

I returned to my classroom, packed everything up and put it all in the storage room, ready to be hauled away if necessary and went back to staring into space.

I’m the sort of person who has moved through life by setting goals and focusing on a particular point in the future.  Ten years ago, as I began my teaching career after 15 years in Industrial Hygiene/Safety Engineering, I set a couple of goals: to learn all I could about best practices in teaching and STEM education and get my Masters degree.  Now, 10 years later, I’ve done both.  As I began my Masters program, I determined my next goal was to leave the classroom and begin working more with educators as a educational technology coach.  I’ve switched gears before, but this time, there’s something different about it.

My district’s Instructional Technology eCoach has retired. The afternoon the job was posted, about 6 coworkers tracked me down and insisted I apply for it.  So I did. The next day, one of my team members laughingly told me that I was the talk of the building because “the job was mine”. They’re all so sure I’m perfect for the job.  I’m not sure if I’m perfect for any job right now.  Something about starting over makes one anxious. We shall see, we shall see.

In the meantime,I’ll be attending two conferences this month.  In the middle of June, I’ll be attending a local, state sponsored Ed Tech conference with coworkers, where we’ll meet with teachers in our region to learn from each other.  I’m excited about it.  I’ll also be attending the ISTE 2014 conference in Atlanta at the end of the month.  I’m there to make connections, speak to people, see what other sorts of positions exist where I can use my new passion to help guide teachers to a new level of technological greatness.  I’m just a bit freaked out about this one.  Its big, but as my assistant principal said to me as we said our good byes (he’s retiring), “you’re destined for greatness, Mrs. Stone, go get ’em.”

Transitions in life, career and all are necessary in order to grow, mature, and reflect on who we are and what our purpose in life should be.  So, for me, an era is about to end.  I’ve loved working daily with children, learning more science than they have, I’m sure.  Its time to move on though; to follow my passion and to help teachers grow.

Wish me luck, I’m going in…