No, that’s not my age, although it won’t be too long before I get there. 61 years is the number of combined years my teammate, Leslie, and I have been teaching. Yesterday I attended Leslie’s retirement party. In two weeks, she will be retiring after teaching for 41 years! Although I’m very happy for her, I’m sad that I won’t be working with her anymore, sad for all those students that will never have her for their teacher, and sad for the profession having to say goodbye to one of the best.
I have been so fortunate in my teaching career to have been part of a “dream team.” A true collaborative team is rare, but I’ve experienced it. Our team started out as a three-some, and the picture above describes how we got along together and how we felt about each other. We think the team worked so well because there were no egos involved. Each of us was completely open to sharing with and learning from each other, we were like-minded in terms of expectations of our students, and we always backed each other up. We invested a tremendous amount of time, effort, and care into building the 6th grade program at our school, but each of our classrooms was unique, our styles of teaching our own. We knew that what we had was unusual and that our team couldn’t last forever, so we never took it for granted, and we appreciated every minute of our time together.
Linda left the team first, a few years ago when her husband got transferred to Chicago. Leslie and I grieved. Now it’s my turn to grieve for Leslie. I truly have had the best of the best, a rare and wonderful professional and collaborative work experience. I’m the luckiest person in the world.