Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Horizons

Yesterday, I was going through crates of curriculum books at school, continuing the gory work of sorting through dusty bins, trashing old files and packing up all of the materials worth keeping.  You see, I am retiring at the end of the week.

Me?  Retired at age 33?  I know, I roll my eyes and shake my head, too.  But the whole full-time teaching thing is just a bit too much on my body right now.  I haven't had much time or energy (read: any) to keep the blog updated over the past few months, as whatever I did have went towards work or family.  After much deliberation on the part of doctors, therapists, and me, the conclusion was to find work a bit less taxing.  I don't think I'm done with teaching forever, just perhaps this form.  And with my current physical condition.  I feel hopeful (often) that one day, my heart and lungs will recover fully and I will have the energy again to give to others.

That's the big news this week.  Tomorrow will be my last day at my job of the past (almost) ten years.  I will miss many things about it:
#1 the kids (the relationships, watching them grow and discover and gain confidence as they mature into big, sometimes-smelly tweens, seeing them develop strong relationships to each other, and feeling like members of their families),
#2 my co-workers (my always supportive school family),
#3 the feeling of knowing what I was doing, the routines, the familiarity of the task at hand...

While other things I won't miss quite as much.

Anyway.  The road ahead is a little foggy.  I know this is the right decision (my throat is killing me tonight after talking to parents all afternoon for report card conferences), but I'm not quite sure what's coming next.  And we all know how I handle uncertainty.  There have been times during the past few weeks that I have felt panicked, second guessing myself, my doctors, wondering if leaving with no particular plan ahead is the wisest decision to make.  We do have a child to feed here.

And then I remember what it felt like last year, realizing my blood cells were making decisions independent of me.  I have to have some say now.  A teeny, tiny bit.  I choose to put my health first, and hope beyond all hoping that everything else somehow magically falls into place.

Like I said, I was going through books yesterday.  I picked up a book I used often when my last name was still Dansky, called The Art of Teaching Writing, a writing teacher's bible of sorts, written by the goddess of all writing instruction, Lucy McCormick Calkins.  Calkins is a professor at Teacher's College, where I attended a week-long institute (on teaching writing) many years ago.  Flocks of teachers gather each summer to hear her wisdom, scribble down her ideas, and gain the insight of other talented writers and teachers.  There are always amazing authors there (Patricia Polacco, Joan Bauer, Pam Munoz Ryan have all made appearances), giving keynote speeches, and later signing autographs (my personal favorite:  James Howe, author of Bunnicula, signed my copy of Bunnicula Strikes Again with bunny ears).

Apparently (though I have absolutely no recollection of this), I got Lucy to sign my copy of Art of Teaching Writing.  When I opened the cover to make sure my name was inside, what I read was this:

Celebrate the new horizons that beckon you forward in your journey.

Couldn't have said it better myself.



  1. Magically done, Mia. That bodes well.Retired?Maybe, but never ever retiring. We love you.
    GG, Uncle and Kimi

  2. Just wanted you to know that you are an excellent teacher,and my children's will turn out to be better people having been taught and known you you and had them in their lives!!! Thank you for everything.
    Jaime Kirby

  3. Mia, I think of you and your mother often but had not kept up with your journey. However, your note popped up on my faceBook page (which I rarely open) just five minutes ago and there it was; so I clicked on it and have not read today's entry in it's entirety. You must have learned well from your summer-of-writing... as you yourself write beautifully; not a wasted word that I can tell. And for sure I am pretty much up to date on your
    'status' (if you will :) Perhaps you will find your next life-chapter, as I call such times as you are facing, by writing, so keep on doin' that. lots of love, Carol

  4. From bad stuff there often comes good stuff. Keep focused on letting your right brain some space and letting go of control. You are such a creative, bright, individual that has so much to share. This could be a perfect opportunity to grow into something wonderful but different from what you expected. You are a very special person, take one step at a time and things will unfold. Wishing you a happy journey..

  5. It may or may not be an easy time or an easy transition, but I do believe you will find that recognizing the right path/opportunity will not be difficult.

    You have laid a great foundation for building the next story. You have by no means wasted the time since May, 2010 either -- au contraire, you grew and accomplished and learned as much or more in the last 18 months as you had in the previous 18. As Anonymous him/herself stated above, you are a person with special gifts to contribute, and that will find its expression before long because the inner physics of life and the universe are set up to make that happen, like gravity and light.

    Love, da

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