Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Beginning of the End

Tomorrow (today, if you’re reading on Thursday) is my last day teaching at my current high school, and I won't be returning next year. While it is my choice to leave, I am very sad to go. I don’t usually get too sappy on BLWB, but I want to acknowledge a few things I remember and will miss about the last three years.

My coworkers. At first, I found the school a bit daunting. Everyone was kind, but it felt difficult to actually befriend people. Luckily, I found a few coworkers—now friends—who took me under their wing, invited me to lunch, welcomed me to the family. I grew to love the camaraderie among our staff and felt proud to be among such stellar teachers. I also learned a ton from my fellow teachers, and I am particularly grateful to the several teachers on campus I consider to be mentors.

The culture and community of the school. As the cheer coach for the last three years, I attended almost every football and basketball game, along with some track meets, volleyball games, and cross country meets. I also joined the school's site council so I could learn more about how decisions are made, how the budget works, and what the school's priorities are. Immersing myself in the school that way helped me learn about the students, the parents, the history of the site, and the path the administration plans to take. Even late nights turned out to be fun, because the people are fun.

My cheerleaders. Coaching was NOT easy, and I spent hours upon hours choreographing, leading practices, and watching games. But my cheerleaders taught me loads about patience, leadership, humility, and not taking anything too seriously. I laughed every day with those girls (and one boy!), and I cherish my positive relationships with each of them.

And of course, my students. Everyone tells you how gratifying it is to be a teacher, but they can’t really tell you. You don’t even realize it yourself most of the time. It’s easy to trudge along, buried in lesson planning and grading and e-mails and meetings and BTSA and…you forget that you’re really doing something to affect these students. Maybe not all of them, and maybe not all the time, but you’re making a difference (how cliché). The students at this school really helped me grow in my first few years as a teacher.

Can you guess what I was trying to explain here?

I'm awesome.

Something I won't miss: the commute. 

Today my coworkers surprised me with a goodbye lunch. I thought I was going to lunch with just two of them, and the entire English department plus three close friends were there. (Actually, I was so shocked that, at first, when I saw the group, I thought, "Oh, the English department is having lunch. They didn't invite us. That's awkward." [<--Does this say something about my self esteem? Let's not go there...]). The surprise was really wonderful, and I could not be more grateful to have worked with such a talented, kind, generous group of people. 

Card and homemade cake pops!

Cake from 85 Degrees

I am sad to leave but excited for my next chapter. I feel nervous and excited and overwhelmed by all the positive support I have received from my husband, my family, my friends, and my coworkers. I don't yet have an answer for all the "what's next?" questions I've gotten, but I love the idea of a new adventure and a new opportunity to learn and grow.

Have you left a job you loved? What made you decide to move on?
This is the first time I'm leaving a job without a guaranteed "next step" ready to go. It's making me a little anxious to not know what's to come! I just know that next year needs to be more peaceful and positive than this year, and I'm excited to see how I'll get there.


  1. Hey Julie! I bet you were an awesome teacher and cheerleading coach. I am sure that whatever move you make next will be a great one!

    1. Thanks so much, Jessica! It's been a great three years and I'm eager to see what's next...

  2. You and Lauren (oatmealafterspinning, as you know) are both teachers and both have made it your last year. weird. do you both have a secret mission going on?? ;-)

    much success to your forward endevours, Julie!