Tuesday, June 16, 2020

It's over, move on



I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.

                                                        Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!




There have been so many moments that have felt like The End


Perhaps it was emptying my classroom, for the final time?




Back in February, I asked to leave full-time teaching. I know/knew it was time for this phase of my career to be over. I no longer had the right spirit and energy for the lead teacher position; it was time to shift into another role. I had every intention of working part-time at the school - I love my school, this community. I suggested ways to support teachers in their work with children.


My administration was excited about this, too. 


Then - boom! Pandemic.


There have been so many moments that have felt like The End.


Thinking about new positions in the midst of smaller, stressed budgets is not to be. Not just yet. We don't know what comes next, what awaits in this new year.


Contracts went out in April, and there was no contract for me. Not even a simple, "we're not sure about next year, but we love you."


It was eerie, honestly.


Then, one month ago, a beautiful paragraph in a note to families, announcing my retirement. 


Sharing important announcements about next year's staffing...We want to celebrate Maureen's retirement and wish her well...Maureen Ingram, Founding Preschool Teacher, set the tone for the vision of teaching and learning for our youngest students. She has given a special welcome and many remarkable experiences to preschool students and their families over the years. Maureen's contributions, from her writings to her thoughtful words, will stand in support of children for years to come.




Wait, what?

What just happened?


There have been so many moments that have felt like The End.


I have been retired.

I did not retire.

The school retired me.


Stunning.


As I loaded my things into the car, I inadvertently snapped a selfie mid-process:




This is me, right now. These days. A clear image of the chaos I feel - mask on, hair flying every which way, all mixed up I am.


Everything about the world these days is 

wild, 

chaotic,

raw,

uncertain, 

painful, 

mixed up.


There have been so many moments that have felt like The End.


My little piece of this seems so trivial in the midst of all else.


Loading my car with all my 'treasures,' those things that I want to keep?




I had to make two trips; yes, I filled my car twice, with belongings. I can't quite say 'over.' There are things I may still need, working with children, in some new way. 


I never wanted my career in early childhood to be over. 

It's not.


Stay tuned.



Pema Chodron, "When Things Fall Apart" - 


The only time we ever know what's really going on is when the rug's been pulled out and we can't find anywhere to land. We use these situations either to wake ourselves up or to put ourselves back to sleep. Right now - in the very instant of groundlessness - is the seed of taking care of those who need our care and of discovering our goodness.







15 comments:

  1. Just like that? In a note to the community? This is how you found out? Being an early years teacher you have a special kind of resilience and creativity in you. The wind may be knocked out of you now, but you will rise strong. Something good is waiting for you.

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    1. Love the reminder of my resilience and creativity! Thank you for your kind words. I do believe, "something good is waiting for me."

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  2. It's not over til you say it is!
    I do love Pema - thank you for including one of her quotes

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    1. Yes - it's not over til I say so! (I've worked with preschoolers too long to not know how to stomp my foot as I say this, too! ;-)

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  3. Holy s*#t! I am both sad and angry. Sad for such an abrupt ending. Angry at the disrespect in the way you received this news, without an option to work full time. It’s such a contrast to my own retirement last year. I simply don’t know what to say. I hope you send this blog post to the powers that be in your school. They have wronged you and need what we call a coming to Jesus over their disgraceful handling of your retirement. 😔

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    1. I feel as if I am working myself through the stages of grief. Thank you for your supportive words! I think I'm moving out of anger into possibility, new ideas, hope, maybe even magic. I don't know that I could have written this post until I shifted my thinking into "what next?" Ah, well. This is life.

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  4. I am glad you are not giving up! But WOW! That's a stunning way to find out you don't have a job next year. I would love to be a fly on the wall when you talk to your principal about it. Good luck with your next move.

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    1. Thankfully, I had already made peace with not working full-time...but, I truly thought I'd have a part-time position. Yes, it should be a very interesting exit interview (tomorrow!).

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  5. Oh, Maureen - I can imagine retiring (some days I fantasize about it, really, all things considered) - but cannot fathom being retired. As in no one making sure that was what you were ready to do, no conversation about a contract, and just announcing it. Seems a violation. Things are crazy, sure, but ... here's what I think: Something better MUST be lying just ahead! In the meantime:That is a highly-intriguing "stay tuned" at the end of the post -!! So help me, I can't wait to see what that means ... and that inadvertently-snapped photo is priceless. Lots of endless blue sky reflected there...

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  6. Thanks for noticing that blue sky! You are right, something positive to come. This is really a story about 'agency'...I didn't decide, they did. Fact of the matter is, that's the way life is lots of the time...the pandemic certainly teaches us all to know we are not in control.

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  7. I felt hurt for you, Maureen. What a way to find out... good grief. That's just... wrong.

    I know there will be a next chapter in your teaching life. It will look different. You may not know what it is yet, but it will be waiting for you when the world reopens again.

    Until that time, please enjoy your unexpected full retirement.

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    1. Thanks, Stacey. It really was/is a terrible way to find out. I'm going to be okay. Right now, I'm on pause, but something else awaits.

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  8. I am absolutely heartbroken for you. But, I love how your Slice ends with hopefulness. I will be staying tuned. I would love to know when you discover the next best thing for your life. Take care.

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    1. Thanks, Donnetta. It was definitely stunning. I hurt badly at first but now feel much more hopeful. There's so much wrong in our world, I must count my blessings. I'll figure out something new!

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  9. I missed this on the 16th. Glad you linked in your current slice. Wow. This really is stunning. A good reminder to all of us what NOT to do as a leader! But even here in your shock and grief I can see you reaching for new possibilities and watching for open doors.

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