Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Ya Dah!

Monday marked the closure of my teaching career. A rounded off twenty years of teaching: 19 in the classroom with 1 year as the credit recovery coordinator.

Our school holds a retirement breakfast and each principal or supervisor says a few words about their retiring staff member before handing over a handsome plaque. My principal did say a few nice words then stumped me with an obscure Shakespeare quote. With a reputation as the resident Bardinator he must have thought I would be able to quote what play it hailed from. If I had known there was going to be a pop quiz I would have studied the night before.

WHEREOF WHAT’S PAST IS PROLOGUE; WHAT TO COME, IN YOURS AND MY DISCHARGE. —The Tempest, 2.1 (missed this one, so distracted by Ariel and Caliban)

Our vice-principal, who handles most of the disciplinary issues, decided a mild roasting was in order. He declared me the most prolific behavior referral writer among the staff, keeping him busy (isn’t this called job security?) and handed me “Webb’s Greatest Hits”—a thirteen page document of all my discipline referrals over my classroom tenure. (Isn’t this just doing my job with dedicated zeal for behavior modification?)

Post breakfast meant turning in my phone, keys, and final farewells. Being homeless, since another teacher was moving into room with gusto, I left. Basically my teaching career ended before 10 am. That’s a ponderful thought: you can take away a teacher’s room but there is always room for teachers.

I spent the rest of the day reading, napping, finding a place to put away my accumulation of classroom stuff acquired over 20 years. That’s a very different post.

Over the past week people kept asking how it felt to be retiring. I had a different reply depending on the day. After all, it wasn’t over until my grades and keys were turned in. On this last day, the reality of leaving the career I inadvertently was herded into washed over me when a former student, now our study hall supervisor found me after the breakfast and said, “I’m sad you’re leaving. I’m happy for your retirement, but sad you’re leaving.” Yes, that’s exactly how I feel as well.

As how to spend the first day of retirement? It’s my birthday—so I’ll do whatever I want. It’s Flag Day to boot!

Happy retirement! Happy Birthday! Happy Flag Day!

This is an extra special birthday
Happy Flag Day!

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25 thoughts on “Ya Dah!

  1. So bittersweet. A friend brought me into her school on a Sunday because she had forgotten something during the week. We walked the hallways and I was flooded with so many memories– ones of being in school as a student, others seeing my children in their classrooms in all their innocence and the memories of having been a teacher myself. The chalk smell mixed with fermenting lunch bags, the decorating for the seasons and the learning, all of us learning… bittersweet indeed. Happy birthday and retirement!

  2. Happy Birthday! Happy Retirement!

    I think I understand how you feel. On the day I switched over to fulltime freelance writing/house husbanding, I felt a little hollow inside, a little unsure. Those feelings lingered for quite a while. But transitions are unsettling. that’s normal, I think.

    Just roll with it and be patient with yourself. The writing life is all consuming. You’ll get into a rhythm in no time at all. I have a feeling your retirement years are gonna kick butt.

  3. Congratulations, Pam! Onward!

  4. Congratulations! The best is yet to be.

  5. petespringerauthor on said:

    I still have mixed emotions after all this time. I did the right thing for me at the time because my health was suffering. Mostly, I feel gratitude for a great career and the opportunity to do something that gave me a lot of pleasure. Tonight, I’m attending the high school graduation of one of those kids who could have gone the other way. The fact that she reached out to me because she wants me to attend feels pretty special.

    The world needs caring teachers like you, Pam. Thanks for all of your service.

    • It is bittersweet, isn’t it? As one teacher said at the district retirement breakfast, it’s best to leave teaching while still liking to teach. I no doubt will end up subbing or proctoring tests. For now I am loving the liberation of knowing there is a world beyond August 31st. ☺️

      • petespringerauthor on said:

        Like me, I’m sure you saw people who stayed on too long. I promised myself I’d never become one of those people. I can’t help but think of all of the things I’ve done in the last few years that I wouldn’t have had time for before retirement.

  6. Treasure the past and step into the future in anticipation of great discoveries and opportunities. 🙂

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