Community

By: Jane

Jun 16 2011

Category: Public Education

4 Comments

Aperture:f/2.8

Under normal circumstances, the last day of school is an exciting and happy day, for students and teachers alike. Kids get a break from the hard work that learning is, and teachers get a much-needed opportunity to reorganize, clean up, plan ahead and create. But today, as the kids left and we had our final faculty meeting of the year, I found myself sad instead of happy.

For me, the countdown began at 12:15. I am now in my final year as a music teacher. It’s not a bad thing. I’ve been at this for 30 years, and that’s a long time to do anything. In my opinion, it’s an especially long time to teach, and I’ve been aware for several years now that my time is drawing to a close. But…I see today that I have felt throughout my career that I would always be a music teacher. For years and years, not only was my vocation permanent, in my mind, it was a big part of who I am, of how I define myself. Suddenly, it’s temporary.

In addition to that, I have always been blessed with colleagues who are not just good teachers. They’re good people.
There’s a sense of community where I teach, that almost keeps me safe from the outside world. At my school, without fail the teachers and staff treat each other with courtesy, pitch in to help wherever and whenever they’re needed, support each other and work as a team. The reality is that you don’t find this in every school, in every workplace, and certainly not out in the big world. In a world where dog eats dog and the competition to get to the top trumps every other value, I have been blessed to work in a place where people actually help each other.

As I cleaned my room this afternoon, I couldn’t lose the thought that next year, I won’t be cleaning up. I’ll be cleaning out. In not so dramatic a way, it reminds me of that question, “If you knew you only had a year to live, how would you live it?” I only have a year left with the children, colleagues and friends who have made my life complete. I hope I live it well.

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4 comments on “Community”

  1. You will ALWAYS be a music teacher. My last day with students was yesterday, and, due to the great Allentown layoff, combined with being pretty super pregnant, I’m not sure when I’ll have students again. But, I’m still a music teacher. As for cleaning out – it was hard with just a couple of years of accumulation. When the time comes, I’ll come help if you need it 🙂

  2. It is hard for me to imagine being at the end of a career (especially as it seems I will have to work ’til I’m dead). I appreciate your sentiments here, and do understand the strange reality of leaving behind some of the things that you’ve taken for granted will always be there. Congratulations on completing another year!

    • Thanks, April. The working til you’re dead part is the reason I know it has to be done. I’m runnin’ out of steam. But that doesn’t make it easy. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  3. Kelly, you are one of those people that I was BLESSED to work with. When you’re ready, I know you’ll have students again. And by the way, “the great Allentown layoff” is a MAJOR bummer, and quite short sighted, in my opinion. Thanks for the help…I’ll need it. You’ve seen my closets!
    Congrats on the baby!


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