As I write this, it’s one day after my last day of teaching middle schoolers. It’s the end of a 44 year career of working for two different school associations, in four different buildings and classrooms, with many colleagues and a boatload of middle school students. I supposeI should write something. After all, this retiring business is a big deal. Just the fact that while I’m sitting here writing, I can still get choked up thinking about my teaching career says, yep it’s a big deal. So I guess I should write something, I’m not sure what, though.
Today, I had some time to delete school stuff from my soon-to-be extinct school account. I kept a few things, but deleted most. After all, when will I ever need that ‘Compost Column Summary’ assignment? And that website I created to help launch kids into discoveries about God’s world? You know, the one I would always introduce with the line ‘go to http:/mrk…. , your favorite website, heh, heh…’ Not needed anymore, gone… It gave me a quite a funny feeling. I guess maybe I could write about those funny feelings… I don’t know what though.
I’ve taught with a lot of people down through the years. I’ve served under a host of different principals. I was even the principal for a couple of years! Most of these colleagues I would count as friends. Some of them, well, we got along okay, but, uh, you know… Looking back over my last day I have to say that I didn’t make the rounds and seek out all my colleagues to do a final goodbye, perhaps an error on my part. However, the reverse was also true. They knew where to find me.
However, the friends and colleagues with whom I did connect. Let’s just say that the tears flowed as we reminisced, expressed our mutual respect, admiration and love. Maybe that’s something I could write about here. Maybe I could end it with some tag line like ‘today’s gift…’ but they already know that’s how I feel about them and maybe that’s enough said for now.
I’ve taught more than a few middle schoolers over the years. All of them are precious in the eyes of God. But really, for some of them, that whole precious-in-the-eyes-of-God stuff looks good in print, but in reality, I imagine that the Creator of the universe had his hands full during their middle school years. I know I did.
Occasionally, I’ve had the privilege of meeting up with former students. What a treat and a blessing to see how, years later, the Spirit has been at work in their lives. That might be a good thing to write about, the Spirit’s work. Maybe I could do something with that.
… So after all that, I’ve decided what to write about. Here goes.
I was reminded recently that it’s not my teaching that defines who I am. Good thing. As of yesterday, I’m not a teacher anymore. However, what ‘defines’ me and all of us, no matter what occupation or stage in life we’re in, is this. We are children of God. Through us his Spirit is at work, advancing his Kingdom, one step at a time, for his glory. And that, my friends, is what all this has been about.